The next Weekly Rumpus features fiction from Elizabeth Kadetsky. Here’s an excerpt:
It was after siesta when Milo finally had the chance to converse in private with the small man, this castaway seeking refuge. The Italian spoke in a hushed voice. Il Negro was like himself an exile. They were brothers in this way, Milo told him. Like him, Milo too had escaped his fate—a clan matrimony, a metier fatalism. In his native Tuscany, fruit was sweet, winters mild, and dilapidated sixteenth-century stone structures easy to fix up as shelter. The boys of Milo’s village lived with la mamma until they married, eating pasta and eventually moving to cities to marry girls whose greatest accomplishment was to perfect the pasta. “Cazzi fascisti, mio caro,” Milo said, addressing the statue. “La pasta non è buona,” the men would say. “It’s not like mamma’s—mammona’s.” This was the entitlement of Italy’s men, the spoiled privilege and arrogance that had left his sisters and cousins no purpose but to mourn the dead.
Elizabeth Kadetsky is the author of a memoir (First There Is a Mountain, Little Brown) and two forthcoming books of fiction: a novella (On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World, Nouvella Books) and a collection of stories (An Incident at the Plaza, C & R Press). Her short stories have been chosen for a Pushcart Prize, Best New American Voices and two Best American Short Stories notable citations, and her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Guernica, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor of fiction and nonfiction at Penn State.
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