“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 Acrhive: Houdini

(photo property of The Summerset Review)

We buy the girls a hermit crab while at the beach. In the gift shop, Caroline, six, and Rhea, four, watch dozens of pink- and purple-painted shells slowly crawl like bacteria around the wire tub before deciding on one with a conical, ridged shell and a meaty pointer. A sea sponge, a water cup, some food, and a smaller wire cage are purchased. As we ride the boardwalk train back to the hotel, names are tossed out, little Frisbees of conversation, Caroline and Rhea facing us, on our laps.

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