With a slight limp, perhaps from the weight of the machine, he disappears behind the trailer to the terracotta path and begins with the pine needles.
An Apparent Horizon presents a pairing of novellas that tell the stories of two characters attempting to come to grips with a past that has both shaped them and continues to elude them. In “The Death of Sam Brown,” Samuel Lawson finds himself in Kingston, Jamaica of the early 1900s wracked with guilt and physical illness as his repressed role in the execution of a worker during the construction of the Panama Canal comes to the surface. The novella unfolds as an intimate chronicling of an ailing man’s failed ambitions and desire for what he comes to understand as an impossible reclamation, bringing to the page a rendering of the early West Indian experience in Panama and providing a relevant glimpse of the psychological residue of empire.
Nearly one hundred years later, “Outpost” follows Mar Gillette, an environmental activist, in the weeks that follow her failed hunger strike in the California desert. In this relative calm, we begin to see the contours of the incomplete mourning of her father that precipitated her fleeing to the desert. Sequestering herself in her childhood home in the hills of Los Angeles, she discovers an ally in Teddy, the son of her father’s gardener. It is through her interactions with Teddy that we see her navigate the distances in her life—between herself and her mother, herself and the city, and, ultimately, herself and her father. But “Outpost” is also about that which is irreconcilable and escapes recording, as Mar must delicately navigate a world conditioned by the lingering but unconfirmed awareness that she had a half-brother who perished in the violence surrounding the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles. “Outpost” was shortlisted for the 2018 Brain Mill Press Driftless Novella Contest.
this book is under submission / please email if you would like to view the manuscript