Search the Site

Blog / Working Titles Excerpts

Working Titles Excerpts

Much Ado About Everything (Working Titles 1.2) Excerpt

- By Gary Amdahl


From Much Ado About Everything:

CLEMENT MOTHERS, Sweet Fathers: the Neanderthals laid their dead in graves and covered them with flowers. This is certain, in all the ways that we can approve certainty. It is also possible to think that they sang, wordlessly, and danced, strangely, while they wept. They were, it continues to be possible to think, big sentimental artistic oafs, without the vocal apparatus, without the right shape of jaw, the right kind of teeth, lips, a tongue that did not loll and flex with the articulate power and grace of our later, superior tongues, without the refined larynx, without the properly extended throat, the almighty...

Working Titles Excerpts

Tomorrow We Never Did Talk About It (Working Titles 1.3)

- By Eduardo Halfon

From Tomorrow We Never Did Talk About It:

When we left, at the end of the day, the tank was still parked in front of the school. The bus maneuvered through the main gate much more slowly than usual, kind of cautiously, maybe so all of us school kids would be able to get a look at that old tank: imposing and magnificent among the chaos of soldiers, journalists, police, paramedics, firemen, and so many parents. I turned around and noticed that each one of the thirteen yellow school buses had a Red Cross flag draped across the front. Suddenly our bus stopped and kept still for a few minutes, half shuddering amid the commotion of vehicles and people. Inside, nobody spoke. Nobody dared...

Working Titles Excerpts

Emergency Exit (Working Titles 1.4) Excerpt

- By Carissa Halston


From Emergency Exit:

Months 5–19

The Stewardess was out of control. She was told when to speak, what to say, what to wear, when to change it, how to stand, where to sit, and how to serve. But she decided whom to service. And she decided how. Four passengers: two men, two women. Always in the lavs, always inflight, always all the way. And once they’d landed in postcoital waters, the Stewardess laid down the rules.

First, an agreement. The Stewardess would leave first. Second, the prevention of discovery. The Stewardess would hang an out of order sign on the door to the lav. Third, an understanding. No acknowledgment and no repeat performances. Fourth—and finally—a handshake. It was official. It was professional. It was the...

Working Titles Excerpts

STRANGE MERCIES (Working Title 1.5)

- By Pete Duval



It’s terrible the way that prayer is answered.  —Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter

THE MORE MAYHEW pretended to pray, the more he began to doubt the project of documentation, and yet the spectacle of what he’d already videotaped seemed fully real only now, the images wavering with unstable pixilation in the low light of his room. In one clip, the blood runs in streaks that snake from triangular wounds at the woman’s palms upward along her wrists and forearms, as though she has held her hands slightly raised and out to the sides long enough for it to dry. Mayhew’s neck ached as he sucked the last lozenge of ice from his rum...

Working Titles Excerpts

Just Another Jihadi Jane (Working Titles 1.6)

- By Tabish Khair


The Massachusetts Review presents the sixth Working Titles e-book:
Just Another Jihadi Jane: A Novel Excerpt by Tabish Khair—available now!  

From Just Another Jihadi Jane:

DON’T ASK ME for too many details. The devil is in the details, they say. Well, the police are there too, and the antiterror squad. There is death in the details, and there is guilt, crime, and persecution. Details leave scars; they call for vengeance. No, I won’t give you too many details. I will give you names of places and people, but seldom the exact ones. Like it or not; make what you can of what I say⎯for you are a writer, and I will leave this story in your...

Join the email list for our latest news