Monday, March 1, 2010

Reading: Dylan Landis on Wednesday March 3

Dylan Landis, author of Normal People Don't Live Like This, a remarkable debut novel-in-stories is coming to town.

Wednesday March 3 at 6 PM at the Eileen Fisher store in South Coast Plaza.

3333 Bristol Street,
South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa
RSVP: 714.437.3111

To tempt you, an excerpt from her short story, "Rose:"

Mrs. Prideau looked at Leah like they might actually share some sliver of understanding.

She lit a clean cigarette with the old one and jabbed the old one out. The butts in her ashtray were all kissed red at one end and bent jagged at the other.

“Your parents go anyplace fun?”

“Upstate,” said Leah. “They’re kidnapping my grandmother.”

Mrs. Prideau’s eyebrows lifted into question marks, thin and elegant. “Are they taking her anyplace fun?”

“Old folks’ home,” said Leah. “Her mind is deteriorating.”

“Really.” Mrs. Prideau looked at Leah like she was trying to figure out where to insert a key. “How can they tell?”

Leah shrugged, but Mrs. Prideau kept waiting, so she went on. “She sticks plates in the oven and they melt. She’s going to burn down the house.”

“She might,” said Mrs. Prideau. “If she has dementia, your parents are probably doing the right thing.”

In the bathroom Pansy said, “Gloss or frosted?” and Oleander nudged her out of the mirror.

“Plus,” said Leah, “she sees things. She says nine is green, vowels are white, stuff like that.”

She hated the way she sounded, as if Sophia Rose were someone else’s crazy grandmother, so she started biting her cuticles.

Mrs. Prideau sat straight up and looked at Leah. She didn’t say stop biting. “Well,” she said, “I don’t know about the vowels. A is light pink and E is almost scarlet. But nine is definitely green.”

Mrs. Prideau was not beautiful. She had short spiky hair and she wore black turtlenecks and jeans. She had ink on her fingers instead of nail polish. But there was some kind of light that went on inside her, and at that moment Leah thought if she stood very still, the light might shine on something she needed to see.


To read more excerpts and to see what other have to say about Landis' collection, click here.

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