The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Author: The Furious Gazelle Editors (page 1 of 47)

“The Strange Hallway, by Mark Tulin

There was nothing more distressing for Lucas than walking the halls of the hospital. He shuffled his slippers in agonizing slowness while pulling an IV cart by his side as if it were an annoying friend that couldn’t take no for an answer.

He dreamt of being with Diane, walking along the Mesa of Santa Barbara that overlooked the beautiful ocean vista. They loved to lean against the wooden fence at the edge of the cliff and watch the speed boats cut across the Pacific, the hang gliders soaring so effortlessly in the sky, and the surfers balancing on their boards while riding the cresting waves.

Lucas labored alone down the hallway of the Pulmonary Care Unit with two defective lungs, a heart that was barely beating, and an IV cart joined at the hip. Continue reading

Book review: Besotted by Melissa Duclos

besotted melissa duclos coverReview by E. Kirshe

 

Intimate, and colorfully written, Besotted by Melissa Duclos was an absorbing read. Told from the perspective of Sasha, a member of the Shanghai expatriate community, this novel is focused on her relationship with Liz, a young woman Sasha pulls to Shanghai and maneuvers into dating her. 

 

“‘What made you want to bring me here?’

‘You signed the letter Besottedly.’ That wasn’t really it, or that wasn’t all of it, but it was all I could give her.

Liz shrugged. ‘It means drunk.’

I shook my head. ‘It means in love.’’”

 

Besotted is an unpretentious story that stays grounded in its relationship woes and isolated expat community. It often reads like a slice of life even among the lyrical language and sometimes sinister machinations of our narrator. Sasha’s ability to love Liz so wholly comes from her inability to look inward at herself no matter how eloquently she can talk about her own issues (to herself and not to the therapist she seems to need). 

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Callaloo by Kira Stevens

I’m learning how to be mentally present

such that I’m more likely to hear random things 

I don’t know I want to know yet 

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Book Review: City of Hate by Timothy S. Miller

City of Hate by Timothy S. MillerReview by Pete Bradt

If Chinatown were a novel by Bukowsi or Palahniuk, you might end up with City of Hate.

Hal Scott is a poetic everyman with secrets, who stumbles upon the suspicious murder-or-suicide of his friend Bob, while living in the deep shadows of the Kennedy assassination, in a jungle of substance abuse recovery, in a swamp of infidelity and blackmail.

If it sounds like we’re getting ahead of ourselves, we are: Author Timothy S. Miller drops the reader and protagonist into a multi-layered criminal underworld from the very first line of his moody and philosophical noirscape, which reads like a gothic love letter to the city of Dallas.

With Hal, we tour a micro-world of conspiracies and memories, fist fights and condo-couch intimacies, bland bank teller jobs and glitzy gubernatorial campaigns. We don’t learn things as much as we play volunteer-therapist to Hal, an observer seasoned with love, humor, sorrow, and the ability to beat the crap out of douchey finance dudes–as demonstrated when a guy demeans (one of) Hal’s love interests, his colleague, Maggie, a married mother. Continue reading

“Weekly,” by Jonathan Kravetz

Matt pushes open the rear door to the office and creeps across the floor in torn jeans and a flannel shirt.  He wipes his nose on his sleeve and peers through the square hole separating the front office from editorial.  He clenches his teeth against the bitter air, but can’t discern any sounds except the light tapping of a keyboard and the radiator clicking.  Then a woman’s voice and then another buzzes like a radio going in and out of tune.  Leaning closer, he attempts to translate the sounds into language, but can only make out hard k’s and soft s’s.  One of them is Jean, his editor, and the other is Mary Ellen, the 25-year old receptionist.  His girlfriend.  Maybe they’re talking about the weather or the details for an important delivery, but Mary Ellen’s face, when he saw her a moment earlier through the front glass window, had the look of someone sharing important secrets.  A chair scrapes against wood and Matt abruptly steps backwards, careens over Jean’s desk, and crashes into her chair, spilling it on its side.  He rushes to his own desk and turns on his computer.  It’s just coming to life when he feels a tap on his shoulder.

“When’d you get in?”  Jean comes around to the front of his desk.

“A few minutes ago.” Continue reading

“The Inheritance” by Christine Fair

Sitting across the rotting planks of a water-worn picnic table at a lake dive in Rome City, Indiana, Chris glowered at Bob and strained not to hear him. She studied his ruddy face with his pale, hooded, sky-blue eyes. His face was unmistakably and disappointingly redolent of her own. In anger, her mom would shake her head slowly and deliberately while growling in revulsion, “You look just like him.” She usually managed to render “just” a two-syllable word to make her point. Chris hated this actuality and longed to resemble her mother who always lingered just beyond her reach. But his widow’s peak, unruly hair and godawful teeth were all lamentably hers too. Maintaining her own teeth was a Sisyphean task. They’d crack or break. Dr. Hill would patch them up. They’d break again and Dr. Hill, again, would do the needful. Bob simply let his rot. In fact he seemed proud of these gaping holes as they were yet another signifier of his indifference to the consequences of his decisions.

She wished she could be tender or something like that. But, “This putrid son of a bitch” rolled around in her head like her moist sneakers in the dryer after an early run in the dew-kissed grass of spring. She tried to appear indifferent as he plowed along in his flat, nasal Midwestern voice which also—irritatingly—sounded like a more masculine version of her own hilljack voice.  Episodically her ears grabbed onto his words and she could feel that familiar anger rearing up on its hind legs, begging for permission to lunge at him, sink its teeth into his crepe-skinned neck and suck out whatever life lingered in that wankstain’s body. She forced herself to intermittently grunt or nod, feigning interested disinterest. The task helped to keep his venomous words at bay. 

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Book Review: The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar

Review by Tess Tabak

The book’s translator asked to remain anonymous for fear of safety

 

This haunting, evocative novel spins a finely woven tapestry out of the Iranian Revolution, djinns and mermaids, and family lore. If you’re willing to go on a meandering journey, Shokoofeh Azar takes you to unique and hauntingly strange places.

This novel truly feels like a piece woven from disparate threads to create a whole. At no point until the end did I ever have any particular idea where the book was going, but I was engaged throughout. Azar sets the tone of magical realism juxtaposed with harsh realities early on, from the very beginning, when the narrator’s mother receives enlightenment from a greengage tree: “Beeta says that Mom attained enlightenment at exactly 2:35 p.m. on August 18, 1988, atop the grove’s tallest greengage plum tree on a hill overlooking all fifty-three village houses, to the sound of the scrubbing of pots and pans, a ruckus that pulled the grove out of its lethargy every afternoon. At that very moment, blindfolded and hands tied behind his back, Sohrab was hanged.” Continue reading

Poetry by Simon Perchik

*

What you open leans against wood

that is not a door you can muffle

put your arm around the only sound

 

when you knock on this kitchen table

whose corners were broken off

straight down, still lit, letting you in

 

circle her mouth not yet the room

left over and listen for the smoke

around the hush from small fires.

 

*

Just died and its rain

is already snow, comforts

the obituary page

 

with moonlight pieces

slowly circling down

as that star-shaped lullaby

 

small stones still look for 

–it’s this morning’s

though over your head the deaths

 

are hidden in silence

begging for water

that doesn’t break apart

 

the way each sky

is hollowed out for another 

–you make a sea

 

for these dead, each name

a boat, sails, the spray

midair and out loud. 

 

*

This tree abandoned at last

flows past as ravines and riverbeds

and can’t fall any more 

 

–it’s used to dirt and those initials

you carried along inch by inch

not in some stone letting you stop

 

for water –you were buried

in the afternoon, late so the light

could close the lid with leftover kisses

 

become an ocean, still burning

and between each wave the glint

from a clear silence you took for yes.

 

*

To survive you disguise each log

as the aromatic sun the mornings

can’t resist –even when naked

 

you hide some kindling close by

let it give birth in the smoke

that leaves with nothing, becomes

 

the emptiness though your eyes

never look up or warm –a fire

is feeling its way to your mouth

 

with lullabies and the small stone

falling asleep on the stove 

–you feed it wood as if your lips

 

still smell from milk and salt 

–an ancient, gentle art now lost

somewhere in those nightmares

 

set off by an empty dress

and along your forehead the light

begins to melt, wants to stay, keep going.

 

*

Even these weeds panic

circle around your fingertips

as if the stream they fasten on

 

knows only one direction –the dead

still fold their arms, dare you

to raise your hand, ask for salt

 

clear the ground before the no! no!

stops and in the silence makes room

for flowers and your mouth

 

sweetened by the warm breath

it still remembers as sunlight

struggling and the pull up! pull up!

 

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Gibson Poems published by Cholla Needles, 2019. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com

To view one of his interviews please follow this linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSK774rtfx8

Book Review: The Sisters Grimm by Menna Van Praag

sisters grimm menna van praag coverReview by E. Kirshe

 

The Sisters Grimm is a new fantasy novel by Menna Van Praag. The entirety is told through the point of view narration of five protagonists, the four sisters; Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet and Bea, and Leo, a sort of spiritual brother to them, who must also kill one of them.

I’ll start with a few positives so the reader can make their own decisions. The characters are diverse, that’s nice. They all come from different ethnic and class backgrounds, Liyana’s relationship with her girlfriend was cute. The otherworld (spirit world? Hell?) of Everwhere was nicely described. There’s a lot of nice language.

Now for the downsides.

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“Diet Coke,” an essay by Maya Landers

My mom is hard to miss. She’s recognizable by her handmade skirts and Birkenstocks, by her playlists that range from Sinead O’Connor to Maroon 5. I can find her at night by the glow of Candy Crush on her phone screen. In grocery stores I track her by her sneeze: explosive, cathartic, followed by a “Whew! Thank you!” to all the people who offer a “bless you.” 

 

When I was seven, I went to a birthday party at Inflatable Wonderland in the mall. After diving into the ball pit and getting lost in the maze, I realized suddenly I didn’t know where I was. Right as I started to panic, I saw a half-drunk diet Coke at the top of a staircase. I relaxed. It was a sign: your mom is here! 

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