Sakeen the housemaid was rarely free to play with us, even at parties. She had to prepare dinner, serve it to the guests, and clean up. Shahnaz, my uncle’s wife, liked to throw big parties to outplay our mothers in a game between them known
Hope misses the city, and I miss Hope. So every other weekend I buy a bottle of wine and drive up the valley to see her and Little Girl in their new suburban home, where they live with Hope’s boyfriend, a pilot.
The camp took place in the bucolic township of Yongpyong, a three-hour bus ride east of Seoul. Twenty professors from top conservatories convened at Alpine Valley Hotel with their flocks of protégés numbering about a hundred in all, predominantly girls. Over the next two weeks, we were to learn from the venerated masters and perform in the concerts held every other evening in the hotel’s grand banquet hall.
I used to sit in the kitchen and draw when Jean visited my mother. I loved to show my completed drawings to Jean. She made me feel as if I’d discovered an elemental truth, or shown her something vital. Once, when I handed her a picture I’d done of a yellow lion with spindly legs and huge round eyes, she looked at it with consideration and said, “You know, it doesn’t look like a real lion. But I think you’ve caught the spirit of a lion here, and that’s a lot more important. This lion has lion-ness.”
Vu Tran’s story, “Vagaries,” first appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review’s Fall 2004 issue. The girl, when Chau first sees her, looks restless. She sits in the restaurant’s crowded patio under a table umbrella that shades her from the bright noon sun. One arm remains in
Chidelia Edochie’s story, “The King of Hispaniola,” first appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review‘s Winter 2012 issue. I spent that Christmas Eve with my schoolmate Bibi and her parents at the National Palace, comparing the sizes of presents and our thirteen-year-old breasts with the other