Author Archives: Kelsey Maki

About Kelsey Maki

writer and English professor

Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport c. 1994 (480 pages—Penguin)

A sweeping tale that spans generations and blurs the lines between people. This complex story swirls around Pono, an ailing grandmother who has hidden her husband and true love (Duke, a regal Hawai’ian who contracted leprosy) from her daughters and … Continue reading

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“Silent is Help” by Elena Georgiou c. 2018 (pages 67 – 96 in The Immigrants Refrigerator)

This story shows the relationship between two guarded people: a reclusive American man and a woman from Nicaragua, both of whom agree to not get too close, as previous traumas have made it difficult to openly share. Motifs of excess … Continue reading

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“Gazpacho” by Elena Georgiou c. 2018 (pages 3 – 6 in The Immigrants Refrigerator)

Flash fiction in which a Mexican man grieves the death of children by caring for kids who may suffer a similar fate. This story illustrates the importance of small acts of kindness in a cruel and violent world. Sentences Worth … Continue reading

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“Bajadas” by Francisco Cantu c. 2018 (pages 50-62 in The Pushcart Prize XLII–originally published in Ploughshares)

A gut-wrenching short story about immigration told from the perspective of a border agent. Sentences Worth Studying “Then, wrapped in blankets, we laughed and drank eggnog and brandy until the conversation deteriorated into discussion of my impending work. / Look, … Continue reading

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“The Home for Buddhist Widows” by Blair Hurley c. 2018 (pages 122-134 in Pushcart Prize XLII) originally published in West Branch

This story centers on a group of women (mostly American) who, after losing their husbands, go to Japan to live as nuns. Issues of patriarchy, love, and death are explored. Sentences Worth Studying “Before light has come and the little … Continue reading

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The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri c. 2013 (340 pages—Knopf)

(Note: This summary contains spoilers.) “The Lowland” is Shakespearian in its representation of family drama. Udayan (the radical and rebellious brother) is murdered by government forces when Subhash (the studious, rule-follower) is in the US furthering his education. After a … Continue reading

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Swamplandia by Karen Russell c. 2011 (400 pages—Vintage)

A bildungsroman that centers on Ava Bigtree and her two siblings—brother (Kiwi) and sister (Ossie). The Bigtrees, who live on an island and own a gator-wrestling theme park, fall on hard times when their mother dies and their park is … Continue reading

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