Winner of the Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize, Aimee Parkison’s characters struggle to understand what happens when the innocent party becomes the guilty party. With magical realist flair, secrets are aired with dirty laundry, but the stains never come clean. Carol Anshaw writes, “Aimee Parkison offers a distinct new voice to contemporary fiction. Her seductive stories explore childhood as a realm of sorrows, and reveal the afflictions of adults who emerge from this private geography.”
Delicate, graceful, luminous, evocative … these stories are like running a finger along a seemingly smooth edge of glass – you don’t know you’ve been cut until you bleed.
––Cris Mazza, author of Various Men Who Knew Us as Girls
One of the most innovative fiction writers working today, Aimee Parkison never sacrifices substance for style - her electric, daring prose crackles with the compellingly messy realities of psychology, politics and sex, even in the most Sureal of moments.
––Gina Frangello, author of Slut Lullabies
"The text is littered with beautifully written moments..."
--American Book Review
Paints and Papers
The hills are his studio. In the morning, as the artist watches, girls and boys pass bottles, kissing between sips. For some reason, the children suddenly seem to love each other and can't stop laughing. They slurp and burp. The colors of the shore grow more pleasing - golden sands, silvery horizons, blue waters, green trees, orange sun, white blossoms, pink clouds, bright blue sky as in a painting of a landscape where there is nothing but distant beauty.
Blossoms break apart. Pale petals drift and flutter down to waves. The girls begin to dance. Petals swirl and sway. Hips shimmy like water. Boys throw sand, glittering, falling on the girls' hair.
Unknown to the children, the artist crouches with his paints and papers on the hills. To the artist, the children are handsome luminous figures that bring a thrilling quality to his imagery. The children become symbols to the lonely man. As symbols, they convey important messages. Bringing clarity and vision, the children remain strangers to him, even though he paints and sketches and studies them for years.
Wine changes children over time. Even though they don't realize it, as they hold each other, they become adults. They cling and moan and are no longer children. They shiver and cling to each other, as if for warmth. Yet they are cold, so cold. Something is leaving. Angels grow impatient, no longer entertained by watching winos dance. The shore changes, again, and the paintings - once full of light - become dark. One by one, winos lose each other in darkening water.