- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, Pank, and Gargoyle #57, among others. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. Currently, I'm an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. I'm also working on two novels and a short story collection. In 2011, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Read "22 Britannia Road" by Amanda Hodgkinson
When Janusz Nowak boards the train to help Poland’s cause in the Second World War, he leaves behind his young wife, Silvana, and their infant son, Aurek. Soon after, the Germans invade Warsaw and Silvana is forced to flee with her child and find refuge in the woods.
Skip ahead a few years and the war is over, but its scars remain. Janusz has relocated to England with every intention of becoming a proper Englishman. Word of his wife’s and son’s survival compels him to send for them in the hopes they can all begin again as a happy family, far removed from Poland’s painful memories. Janusz realizes, however, that starting over isn’t as easy as he imagined when he’s confronted by the war’s changes on his wife and the fact his son is a wild and fearful creature he hardly recognizes.
The premise was intriguing enough to entice me to pick this one up, but Amanda Hodgkinson offers so much more as life-altering secrets held by both Janusz and Silvana are revealed and new complications arise. The narrative is spare and beautiful, and the story, utterly captivating. Alternating between past and present in the voices of Janusz, Silvana, and their fascinating son, Aurek, Hodgkinson has written a complex tale of loss and recovery, love and redemption.
*Review first printed in the June 5 edition of The Pilot.