Dear Quiet Reading World,
Three years ago, I decided to write a short story based on the various anecdotes and flashbacks from the Old Country (Slovakia), all retold to me throughout my life by my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother. After a long wait, “Plum Blood Red” is finally alive and ready for your eyes, having been recently published in Clarion 19.
At the council of Editor Zachary Bos, I’ve included a brief author’s note, which I’m sharing with you here for context. Thank you for reading my work, should you choose to.
Author’s note. This story is very loosely based on my grandmother’s telling of her experiences in the time immediately following the exit of Axis forces from Czechoslovakia near the end of the war; my great-grandmother’s, too—may she rest in peace. Some of the details, such as the partisans sneaking down during the war to eat and drink at the cantina, setting their ammunition belts down; the disappearance of the Jewish family; and the appearance of Ukrainians among the Nazi ranks, are genuine experiences that were recounted to me without solicitation.
Eastern Europe, and specifically my Slovak heritage, has contributed greatly to my genesis as a fiction writer. My undergraduate studies steered me toward heavy doses of Russian literature, which I still make a study of to this day, though my interests have expanded to include any of the Slavic states (Dalkey Archive Press is a wonderful source of material, in this regard). My own upbringing in a Slovak matriarchy has always provided places to invent from—learning the Slovak language, going back to live in Bratislava for a year or, in the case of this particular story, listening to my grandmother and great-grandmother recount their experiences during the Second World War and then behind the Iron Curtain. – AM
PS Eventually, Clarion 19 will be released in print.