Yours

“Hey, Jill,” he says, “I know what your favorite thing in the world is.”

“What is it?”

“Me,” he says with all the certainty of certainty.

“You are so right,” I say.

I don’t understand why we would push away from one another. Why we would kick out to the edge of the bed rather than roll to the center. Why we would pass a smiling stranger and not smile back. Is there so much affection in the world that we can afford to neglect it?

You, sir, you with your hard time, are on your own. Good luck with everything. Let us know when it’s easy to be around you again and we’ll all go for a drink. I have made the repeated mistake of watching the video for Amanda Palmer’s Bed Song.

I waited here, nursing my solitude, and no one came. Where was everybody?

My grandmother was buried yesterday. Or maybe not. I don’t know if there was a casket. My cousin wrote me that an old neighbor showed up in a full-length white mink coat and a bright red cowboy hat. I can picture that well enough.

It’s too soon to tell what I feel. And I won’t analyze it anyway. My feelings are just feelings and they’re free to walk in and out of the room.

Maybe my child has so much certainty because he is a child. And maybe because he is my child. We could argue that it’s still easy when they’re young. But that is madness. We have the option all through our lives to roll to the center or roll to the edge. To live in proximity to affection or to wrap around it like paper. Gifted.

Whatever I honor in you, I must also honor in myself. You, so worthy of love. Of encouragement. Of arms roped around you and kisses. We can tether or drift. Tether or drift. Sometimes we do both together. My feelings are just feelings and they’re free to walk in and out of the room.

I wish peace for the dead. And the living.

 

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Jill Malone

Jill Malone grew up in a military family, went to German kindergarten, and lived across from a bakery that made gummi bears the size of mice. She has lived on the East Coast and in Hawaii, and for the last seventeen years in Spokane with her son, two dogs, a hedgehog, and a lot of outdoor gear. She looks for any excuse to play guitar. Jill is married to a performance artist and addiction counselor who makes the best risotto on the planet.

Giraffe People is her third novel. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. A Field Guide to Deception, her second novel, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary Award and the Great Northwest Book Festival.

Giraffe People

Giraffe People

Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.

And then, of course, there’s Meghan.

Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.

But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.

Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.

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A Field Guide to Deception

A Field Guide to Deception

In Jill Malone’s second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, nothing is as simple as it appears: community, notions of motherhood, the nature of goodness, nor even compelling love. Revelations are punctured and then revisited with deeper insight, alliances shift, and heroes turn anti-hero—and vice versa.

With her aunt’s death Claire Bernard loses her best companion, her livelihood, and her son’s co-parent. Malone’s smart, intriguing writing beguiles the reader into this taut, compelling story of a makeshift family and the reawakening of a past they’d hoped to outrun. Claire’s journey is the unifying tension in this book of layered and shifting alliances.

A Field Guide to Deception is a serious novel filled with snappy dialogue, quick-moving and funny incidents, compelling characterizations, mysterious plot twists, and an unexpected climax. It is a rich, complex tale for literary readers.

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Red Audrey and the Roping

Red Audrey and the Roping

Occasionally a debut novel comes along that rocks its readers back on their heels. Red Audrey and the Roping is one of that rare and remarkable breed. With storytelling as accomplished as successful literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, Jill Malone takes us on a journey through the heart of Latin professor Jane Elliot.

Set against the dramatic landscapes and seascapes of Hawaii, this is the deeply moving story of a young woman traumatized by her mother’s death. Scarred by guilt, she struggles to find the nerve to let love into her life again. Afraid to love herself or anyone else, Jane falls in love with risk, pitting herself against the world with dogged, destructive courage. But finally she reaches a point where there is only one danger left worth facing. The sole remaining question for Jane is whether she is willing to accept her history, embrace her damage, and take a chance on love.

As well as a gripping and emotional story, Red Audrey and the Roping is a remarkable literary achievement. The breathtaking prose evokes setting, characters, and relationships with equal grace. The dialogue sparks and sparkles. Splintered fragments of narrative come together to form a seamless suspenseful story that flows effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion.

Winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, Red Audrey and the Roping is one of the most memorable first novels you will ever read.

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