“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
Friday Mass for the Dead
That woman who tried to sell us Hawaiian shirts in the gift shop of the hotel in Daytona when we vacationed in Florida in 1984 is probably dead. My third-grade teacher, I discovered, died ten years ago of cancer. I bet those old women who were playground monitors at my elementary school are dead, too. And the cafeteria ladies. Do you remember the lady down the street, the one we wanted to be like, with the honey red hair? The one who seemed so debonair for working-class Baltimore and always had a gracious smile for us kids? She died recently, and too young. My father has been dead for almost twenty years, as has my dear friend from college. My grandparents have all died. Sometimes I wonder whether the dog I shared with my ex has died, but I hope she doesn't tell me either way. Do you think the old lady who we gave a ride home from the diner, she was having Christmas dinner with her friend, and we offered to mail her holiday cards? What about her? I copied her return address from one of them and send her a note asking if she needed anything. She never responded, and it makes me wonder.