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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...

Working Titles Excerpts

Ambrosia (Working Titles 1.7)

- By Lee Upton


The Massachusetts Review presents the seventh Working Titles e-book: Ambrosia by Lee Upton–available this week!

From Ambrosia:

IN MY EARLY CHILDHOOD, the people I loved most in the world made sure that I saw a silver tree. I remember taking a giant breath and then swallowing the sight of that tree so that it would never leave me. Late-born, with a far older brother and sister, I must have been a small child to be on someone’s shoulders, and the wind must have been blowing so hard that the leaves flickered like metal.

For the past five years I have been the only member of my family. My brother and sister, both of them ill for much of their lives, died at early ages...

Working Titles Excerpts

Chaotic Freedom in Civil War Louisiana (Working Titles 2.1)

- By Bruce Laurie

The Massachusetts Review presents the eight Working Titles e-book: Chaotic Freedom” in Civil War Louisiana by Bruce Laurie–available this week!

From “Chaotic Freedom” in Civil War Louisiana:

    This essay offers additional insight into the motivations of comparatively ordinary soldiers–two men whose Civil War stories have never been told in full. Henry S. Gere and Marshall S. Stearns brought different points of view to their wartime service. Gere was an abiding abolitionist, the kind of soldier described by Manning. Stearns had no obvious politics, and yet both men were strongly...

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