Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen." is an incredibly special one for us. Hatched in a NYC club during BEA week, this feature requires more work of the author than any of the ones that have come before. And that makes it all the more sweeter when you see, or rather, hear them read excerpts from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.
This week, Claudia Smith Chen reads an excerpt from her new collection of short stories Quarry Light, which is now available from Magic Helicopter Press. Her fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including Norton's The New Sudden Fiction: Short Short Stories From America And Beyond, Lone Star Noir, The Mississippi Review online, New World Writing, Failbetter, Sou'wester, Night Train, and others, Her flash fiction collection The Sky Is A Well And Other Shorts was reprinted in Rose Metal Press's book A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness; Her second collection of flashes, Put Your Head In My Lap, is available from Future Tense Books.
Click on the soundcloud file below to experience Quarry Light as read by Claudia Smith Chen:
The word on Quarry Light:
Girls sleep on the balcony overlooking the water. Men wait by the bonfire, green bottles in the sand, coral necklaces. A rat scratches behind the walls a father has painted and left. A man sends his daughter a friend request. A woman thinks her heart should be beating fast, but it isn’t. A man draws a woman pictures she doesn’t want, of her hair wound around her neck. She sleeps in a closet with the dog she found on the porch.
In the stories of Claudia Smith’s debut collection Quarry Light, women search for life after darkness and breath after violence. They listen to the song with the line about the cat in the dark. Their mother swims in quarry water the coolest, deepest green they have ever seen.
"Claudia Smith's QUARRY LIGHT is a remarkable collection rife with strange doings, comings and goings, beings of the sort uncommonly troubled and beautiful, in equal measures. The writing is elegant, sharp, sublime. The stories are frightening and heartbreaking. One doesn't want to mention names, but she brings to mind other sorely missed southern women writers whose remarkable work we all still read with awe."--Frederick Barthelme
*lifted with love from goodreads