L. Shapley Bassen’s “Portrait of a Giant Squid” is the first place winner in the 2015 Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest! To see the contest wrap-up and read the winning stories, see “The 24th Annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest,” (Arts, Feb. 19).
It would be an understatement to say that in April, Ray was surprised to be his first cousin Donna’s heir. In his mother’s photo albums from the postwar 1940s, Ray appeared as a toddler, and this older cousin had stood over him in that summertime, casting a shadow. His mother had died at 69 in 1987, younger than he was in this August of 2014. Donna’s parents had moved from New York to Los Angeles in the early Fifties. In the past decade of social media, Donna had located more distant members of their scattered family, discovering they were a clan of only children. After Donna friended Ray on Facebook, there had been posts and messages and some emails, never Skype. He’d kept his distance, having no inclination to travel to California. Four decades of international business travel had extinguished wanderlust. Also, he agreed with John Updike: “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”
The legal document said that his cousin Donna’s estate included a painting by a major 20th century artist. Ruth Riesenkalmar’s work had finally emerged from eclipse by her husband’s, and the museum site of their house and shared studios on Long Island had been renamed, hyphenated to include her. After learning about the painting, Ray visited three Manhattan museums exhibiting Riesenkalmars. MOMA displayed two from her cephalopod series. A photo the lawyers sent showed Ray that his newly inherited Portrait of a Giant Squid was as color-saturated and indecipherably abstract as MOMA’s except for its dominant circular center entangled in wavy, sucker-circled lines suggesting a squid’s giant eye and tentacles. He could see from its dimensions it would be an ordeal to install in his apartment.
Read the rest of the story at: The Austin Chronicle.
Illustration by Jason Stout
On Feb. 9, the hardcover of Iain Pears’ ARCADIA will be released. Critic L. Shapley Bassen discusses this fascinating saga in a new review:
ARCADIA is Faber & Faber’s first novel to have been written primarily with digital readers in mind. The British publishers believe it to be the first book of its kind in existence. Shortly after its iPad appearance, the 596-page hardback was published last September 3rd (UK). This February, 2016, Knopf presents a 528-page US edition. “While the hardback is 180,000 words, the app comes to 250,000, offering additional stories and expanding those told in the hardback.”
Get the full story at: Prick of the Spindle.
Arcadia by Iain Pears
Two Cities Review had the pleasure of publishing some cross-genre work we absolutely love in our first issue – poems by L. S. Bassen within artwork by Mike Stanko. These works are part of a collection called “Scene & Said” and are stunning in their visual quality and poignant words. To read them for yourself, see the image below or take a look back at our original issue.
We had the pleasure of interviewing both artists about their work together. We hope you enjoy hearing what they have to say.
Two Cities Review
Scene & Said
I’m b-a-c-k! My short story collection “Lives of Crime & Other Stories” is now available at two places: Amazon and CreateSpace!
On August 23, Texture Press announced the forthcoming publication of my short story collection “Lives of Crime & Other Stories”. Arlene Ang thanks Mike Stanko for the use of his vibrant artwork for the cover. Stay tuned for details!
Lives of Crime & Other Stories
My alternate-history novel, SUMMER OF THE LONG KNIVES, published by Typhoon Media, is now available for e-book readers and hard copy can be pre-ordered as well at Smashwords and Amazon… Hope you’ll take a look!
After an attack by a band of roving Nazi Brownshirts, Lisel Ganz, an artist’s model in Berlin, suffers an injury that gives her the ability to catch glimpses of the future. It is already too late for many, but Lisel now can see that an even greater evil lies ahead. Taking refuge in the home of artist Albert Entrater, Lisel meets Konrad, a Catholic priest involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler. Amid great betrayal, loss, and danger, Lisel must act while there is still time. A novel of what literary critic George Steiner has called alternity, Summer of the Long Knives explores the hopes and horrors that emerge from history’s darkest moments.
Summer of the Long Knives