“Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one.” – Ploughshares

“Jen is an astonishingly sensitive writer.” – HTML Giant

“Jen Michalski excels in subtlety that is made possible by her nuanced understanding of voice.” – The Rumpus

“Jen is a writerly heavyweight.” – Nate Brown, American Short Fiction

“We’re lucky to have Michalski before the rest of the world discovers her. But they will.” – Baltimore City Paper

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story archive: Queen of Swords

(originally published in storySouth)

It started when Vanessa Falkenstein across the alley threw all her plates in the back yard. I was planting strawberry seeds like we used to in the old house when my mother and I lived with Dad when she barreled out of the back door and down the steps, a stack of plates in her arms. She threw each individually, not like a discus, but like a firm statement, beginning from over her head and letting go of each it around her chin. The first couple of plates scared the neighborhood dogs, who started barking and carrying on. I don’t blame them--the plates sounded less like glass and more like gunshots, which I heard once. Although my mother told me it was a car backfiring, I knew better. It was just like on television.

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