Lemon - a collection of short stories
Lemon - a collection of short stories

I go live June 1st -

until then please visit www.davidphaight.com or www.facebook.com/authordavidphaight 

About the book: Lemon., my first collection of short stories (and third book) is a meditation on the emotional violence loved ones inflict upon one another. These stories were burning to get out and now need you. Some of the characters you'll meet in this collection are:  

A husband and wife whose long buried resentments rise to the surface after a drunken ménage a trois;

A girl who abandons her infant daughter and struggles with a father she had always pretended was dead;

A young man who steals from his best friend to start a new life when he discovers his girlfriend is pregnant; and in the title story,

An alcoholic must choose between his family and a life of solitude.  

In these ten painstakingly crafted stories I explore love and suffering.

Reviews

I have sent out a few advance copies for reviewers. So don’t just take my word for it. Here is what they thought:

David Haight has written an extraordinary collection of short stories. Lemon. casts a harsh, often merciless light on ordinary events. He shows the cracks of not-quite-broken lives, revealing their overlooked corners and sharp edges with well-crafted dialog and prose. In the midst of bitterness, readers will stumble across unexpected moments of hope. Irony has a lopsided grin, a quiet truth that can stab the heart, and occasionally lift it. You must, however, swallow these stories carefully. You cannot leave crumbs on the table. Skip a few paragraphs and you will lose the beat. You must eat every word, every sentence, every paragraph. Only then will you taste the unusual, often surprising truth of what Mr. Haight has created.

– Temple Emmet Williams, Author

The stories in Lemon. weave a tapestry of alienation, alcohol, sadness and uncertainty, convincingly told with no real possibility of redemption - gritty and difficult. Mr. Haight has created a collection that is well written and drawn with unflinching courage in plumbing the depths. Powerful descriptions carry the reader through and demand that eyes remain open in spite of the urge to avert them.  

- Charlie Baumargtner, Author  

An Excerpt (Grace)

“Tell him you love him,” they insisted.

We were huddled around the large hospital bed which had swallowed my husband. He was scarcely conscious, eyes no longer open, his mouth nothing more than a pink paper cut, and that once prominent barrel chest sunk. My five children were crowded behind me, urging me forward. I stiffened my back and held my ground. They were all in various states of hysterics, even my boys.

Swollen eyed and convulsing they caressed his hands and face. They thought they were saying goodbye. They weren’t. They were clutching a drowning man, an already dead man, trying to memorize his fading features, watching his torso with its fragile movements for that moment when it would rise no more, mixing like the sun and the sea their memories of who he was and who he would be, desperately trying to force themselves to come to terms with his death that hadn’t yet come.

“Tell him you love him, mom,” they insisted again.

They were convinced he was at the gates that separated this life and the next and my words were the ticket that would allow him to pass. They thought I was grace. Even as grown adults their sentimentality was breathtaking. What was now happening was between Bill and God and there was no space between them. As far as my husband of fifty odd years, we said our goodbyes before this final bit of theater at home, in our bedroom, where I was unable to let him take in his last breath and which will be my last regret as a married woman. But I knew I’d have to do this. He knew too. Even now, lying their slipping away he was amused by all this – charmed by my fierce reluctance. Go ahead. For them. Then he called me Pigeon.

I closed my eyes and placed my hands on top of his. Behind me the tides were rising in their eyes and they clung together like rats. This was the performance they wanted. He was already urging me to relax, whispering it’s nearly over.

“I love you Bill.”

Then he was gone.

The small white hospital room erupted in tears. Getting the finale they wanted my children left me and fell in a heap like soiled laundry on the chairs behind me.

Turning around I found my oldest child, Bill junior, the one closest in appearance and personality to my husband and said, “I want to go home.” My other children Martha, Margaret, Judy and Derek all thought it was too soon, tried to coax me into sitting down, to be with him, pray, but Bill junior did as he was told, collecting my things, handed me my purse, and pushed through the pink darting eyes and muffled disappointed voices, refusing to look as the hospital disappeared in the side mirror of my son’s shaking car.

*

About me

I was born in Minneapolis and received a Bachelor of Arts and later an MFA from Hamline University where I was distinguished by the Quay W. Grigg Award for Excellence in Literary Study. I published my first novel Overdrive in 2006, and my second, Me and Mrs. Jones in 2012. I live in Burnsville with my wife, Lynn, my stepson Sean, three dogs and one very overwhelmed cat.

 

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