Once again, I’m delighted by the interest that writers from all over the country—in fact, all over the world!—have shown in Embark. For this issue we received more than 120 submissions, making the decisions about which pieces to include even more difficult—though I relished the task of reading novel openings from so many gifted authors!
This issue takes us far afield in both time and place: modern-day Bangladesh, twelfth-century Germany, Louisiana in the 1960s, a fantastical town on Mexico’s border with the U.S. Its characters, too, range dramatically in age and situation, from a successful lawyer revisiting his hometown in upstate New York to a young woman who suffers from acute anxiety going to college for the first time.
The common thread that connects these stories—and, indeed, creates the allure of all fiction—is newness: the threat and attraction of new places, new people, new circumstances. One young protagonist in this issue responds to the discovery that she has a terminal illness by traveling to the most remote and unlikely place she can imagine: Moldova. Another, desperate for independence and a life of her own, takes a job as a housekeeper—not an easy job in Victorian England. A family of four very different siblings must deal with their parents’ sudden deaths. A woman overseeing the destruction of an old barn suddenly finds herself confronting her past from a new vantage point.
With these injections of novelty and conflict into the lives of their characters, the ten authors featured in this issue are able to establish intriguing and absorbing situations in only a few pages. Reading their openings gives us a glimpse into the dramas that they are currently unfolding and, at the same time, reminds us of the diversity and vastness of our shared world, in which the only way to reach beyond our own perspectives is to listen to each other’s stories.
— Ursula DeYoung, Founding Editor
Table of Contents
THE GREENEST BRANCH – P. K. Adams
YEAR OF WOMEN – T. M. De Vos
CATFISH – Madelyn Bennett Edwards
NGOZI, I KNOW IT’S YOU – Ijeoma N. Njaka
BENEFICIARIES – Sarah Pascarella
THE FICTION FACTORY – Mahmud Rahman
COLDWATER REVENGE – Jim Ross
76 WASHINGTON AVE – Rebecca Steinitz
WYNTERS WAY – Karla Stover
TALES FROM THE LAND OF SAL SI PUEDES – Erica Verrillo