I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

 

I met Richard at a local bar. He sat alone in a corner booth and brushed my hand as I walked by, on my way to the restroom.

My friend, Whitney, had gone home for the night. I decided to stay for another drink. Richard offered to pay for it.

“Thanks,” I said, puzzled by his charity. I agreed to sit with Richard, despite the fact that he looked thirty years my senior and was dressed like an old yuppie.

Richard told me that he’d recently moved to Grass Valley; that he’d rented a three bedroom house with a creek that ran through the back yard. He said that he liked the clean air and evergreen trees, and the fact that his money went further in the small town than in New York, where he’d earned his small fortune.

“What about you?” said Richard.

“What about me?”

“Tell me something about yourself.”

“I work at the department store downtown,” I said.

Block

By Bud Smith

Essay

Good Luck: Episode Seventeen

 

This paragraph was written on a cellphone at my day job. With all the mess, and the noise, and the constant humming and slamming of million pound machines. I’ve run out of things to say, which is unacceptable. Usually this place sounds like angels singing, but now the demons have begun to shriek.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Pam Houston. Her new essay collection, Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, is available from W.W. Norton & Co.

 

Houston’s other books include two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton.

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Available from William Morrow

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The author of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows follows her acclaimed American debut with this life-affirming, witty family drama—an Indian This Is Where I Leave You—about three Punjabi sisters embarking on a pilgrimage to their homeland to lay their mother to rest.

The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirnia—were never close and barely got along growing up, and now as adults, have grown even further apart. Rajni, a school principal is a stickler for order. Jezmeen, a thirty-year-old struggling actress, fears her big break may never come. Shirina, the peacemaking “good” sister married into wealth and enjoys a picture-perfect life.

On her deathbed, their mother voices one last wish: that her daughters will make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to carry out her final rites. After a trip to India with her mother long ago, Rajni vowed never to return. But she’s always been a dutiful daughter, and cannot, even now, refuse her mother’s request. Jezmeen has just been publicly fired from her television job, so the trip to India is a welcome break to help her pick up the pieces of her broken career. Shirina’s in-laws are pushing her to make a pivotal decision about her married life; time away will help her decide whether to meekly obey, or to bravely stand up for herself for the first time.

Arriving in India, these sisters will make unexpected discoveries about themselves, their mother, and their lives—and learn the real story behind the trip Rajni took with their Mother long ago—a momentous journey that resulted in Mum never being able to return to India again.

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a female take on the Indian travel narrative. “I was curious about how different the trip would be if it were undertaken by women, who are vulnerable to different dangers in a male-dominated society,” Balli Kaur Jaswal writes. “I also wanted to explore the tensions between tradition and modernity in immigrant communities, and particularly how those tensions play out among women like these sisters, who are the first generation to be raised outside of India.”

Powerful, emotionally evocative, and wonderfully atmospheric, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a charming and thoughtful story that illuminates the bonds of family, sisterhood, and heritage that tether us despite our differences. Funny and heartbreaking, it is a reminder of the truly important things we must treasure in our lives.

 

I’m busy.

Doing what?

Writing my novel.

Still at it, you?

Nothing left to do.

What’s it about?

It’s about you, he said.

Oh yeah, sure.

Really.

About me?

You and me, he said.

Us, then.

Right. That’s right.

What’re we doing in this novel?

I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Sam Lipsyte. His new novel, Hark, is available from Simon & Schuster.

 

This is Sam’s second time on the podcast. He first appeared in Episode 154, on March 6, 2013.

His other books include the story collections Venus Drive (named one of the top twenty-five books of its year by the Voice Literary Supplement) and The Fun Parts, and three other novels: The Ask, The Subject Steve, and Home Land, which was a New York Times Notable Book and received the first annual Believer Book Award. He is also the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.

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Why did you write Ways of Looking at a Woman?

I was working on a dissertation and I needed another way to procrastinate besides cat videos. I also wanted to explore some pressing questions I had about 1) women looking and being looked at, 2) how film and literary theory could help me answer these questions, and 3) how mothers fit into all of this.

It electrocutes me in the best possible way to watch the thoughts marching from afar like a terrifying army.

What’s this sick compulsion to shatter the celluloid that encases me, write my way out with a lyric essay, pervade, project light through light, wrap my head around what I am: a movie in the shape of a woman, seeing and being seen, writer-mother, a mixed genre, a person with another person growing inside her?

And what will happen if I can’t? Will my skin curl, crack, and harden till I’m mummified, bundled beetle-like in my own ambition? If only someone had told me early on, “You will never get the orange peel off in one clean spiral, but more haunting shapes will come out of it in the end.”