Welcome to the Massachusetts Review's Working Titles! Working Titles are e-publications of prose that was too long for our print pages. Working Titles will be published bimonthly.
Working Titles are made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Five Colleges, Inc., and the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, as well as private donors.
Working Title 2.3: The Leader
THE LEADER follows three generations of a Libyan family during the reign of Muammar Gaddafi. Moving back and forth in time over the course of nearly forty years, the story traces the ways that violence and repression echo through each member's life. Read an excerpt here and purchase on Kobo, Amazon or Weightless books.
Nouri Zarrugh is a Libyan-American writer and illustrator and is currently a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas, where he won the 2016 Keene Prize for Literature for "The Leader."
Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya, and is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Tocqueville, which won the Arab American National Book Award for Poetry. He has translated nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry and co-edited two anthologies of Arab American literature. He won a MacArthur "Genius" Grant in 2014.
"Zarrugh's collage-like novella manages to render a heartbreaking and moving story, but also to leave us responsive, and perhaps responsible, for the echoes that never become voices. A beautifully crafted story, The Leader, I believe, will be recognized as a masterpiece among the many buried stories of Libya that will surely come to light. " --Khaled Mattawa, Introduction to The Leader
Working Titles Currently Available
TIME SERVED explores the plight of military
veterans deported after serving time for
felonies. In this searing investigative report,
J. Malcolm Garcia asks, “What makes someone
American?” Garcia follows four deported vets
as they work to return to their families and
the country that they served. Read an excerpt
or buy from Amazon, Kobo, or Weightless.
Henry S. Gere and Marshall S. Stearns are
transformed for the better through the
Civil War. The photograph they collaborated
to produce became the Civil War emblem
featured in Harper's: the carte de visite of
Peter, the slave with a scourged back.
These biographies tell of the possibility of
personal redemption and the evolution of
an image. Read an excerpt or buy from
Amazon, Kobo, and Weightless Books.
A young woman living alone sees a mysterious
older woman roaming the woods outside her
house. As they strike up an unlikely friendship,
the narrator finds herself questioning what
she knows about love, friendship, and family.
Read an excerpt or purchase on Weightless,
Amazon, or Kobo.
JUST ANOTHER JIHADI JANE follows the
radicalization of two young girls growing
up in a working-class Muslim neighborhood
in the UK. Ameena and Jamilla become
followers of a Jihadi matron deeply
involved in the Syrian war—but slowly
discover that their new reality is far different
from what they imagined. Read an excerpt
or purchase on Weightless, Amazon, or Kobo.
Working Title 1.5: Strange Mercies
Pete Duval evokes a world of staggering heat
and blinding midday light, a world of stray
dogs and curlews. It is into this world that
Mayhew arrives, a cameraman for a Catholic
news network as much fleeing the desiccation
of his marriage as pursuing the story of a
young woman who may or may not bemarked
by stigmata. Read an excerpt or purchase on
Weightless, Amazon or Kobo.
"Emergency Exit" unfolds in the disjointed
chronology of the perpetually jet-lagged,
skipping over months as easily as airplanes
cross time zones. In the slight surreality of
this enclosed world, Carissa Halston's
stewardesses reveal themselves as capable
of rage, apathy, humor, compassion,
efficiency. . . even friendship. Read an excerpt
or purchase on Weightless, Amazon or Kobo.
Eduardo Halfon's story follows the departure
of a well-off industrialist Jewish family from
Guatemala in the early 1980s. The events are
seen from the point of view of the naive,
inquisitive ten-year-old son. In Anne McLean's
vivid translation, the wrenching upheaval of
the family's departure emerges as a microcosm
of a country's descent into hell. Read an excerpt
or buy on Weightless, Amazon or Kobo.
Gary Amdahl's full-throated defense of the
novel as a means by which we might second-
handedly engage not only "nothing that is not
there but also the nothing that is." Amdahl's
energetic style, his restless interrogation of
criticism today, and his willingness to break,
burn, blow, and make language his own,
create an affirmation of literature in the 21st
century. Read an excerpt or purchase on
Weightless, Amazon or Kobo.
In three interlocking stories, Dinika Amaral
explores the fantasy and frustrations of
post-colonial India. Weaving together the
experiences of western visitors, the bustle
of a contemporary Bombay marketplace,
and figures from sacred Hindu texts, Amaral
offers a mercurial, dreamlike vision of
Bombay in the 21st century: ancient, global,
chaotic, dazzling. Read an excerpt or purchase
on Weightless, Amazon or Kobo.