Assistant Nonfiction Editor
"Conduit" by River Adams
Sometimes it is impossible not to break the rules. In this bittersweet story, the assigned hospital interpreter for a Georgian immigrant teenager with severe neurofibromatosis breaks them out of hand. In this case, the standard rules will prove to be cruelly irrelevant. We find ourselves egging the interpreter on as we embrace the bigger-than-life personalities of the young girl’s mother and grandmother. Ethnic culture becomes a breathing character as we traverse the family’s medical journey in a foreign land, the interpreter their only lifeline in fraught waters. Readers will gain new insight and compassionate respect for the people performing in interpretive jobs that require continuous improvised finesse.
"Motherhood Requiem" by Nadia Ghent
If there’s a contest for an essay that reads the most like a Russian novel, I humbly put forth this one. Grand scale over many years, check; dramatic events and personalities, check; mental illness, check; memorable location, check; moody classical music, check; dark family saga, check. All of this transferred to a modern SoHo location for a harrowing journey to motherhood with all its caveats, fears and promise. I’m re-amazed every time I re-read it and I savor again its message that “Life is strong.”