“The Ninth of Av” forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review

I just found out that a story excerpted from my unpublished novel A Useful Life will appear in Crab Orchard Review‘s Special Issue: New & Old ~ Re-Visions of The American South. It’s scheduled to come out in September. The excerpt comes from the chapter about the 1878 yellow fever epidemic that decimated Memphis, telling the story of a fictional Jewish family and how they deal with the tragedy.

I titled the story “The Ninth of Av,” after the Jewish holiday commemorating the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. In 1878, Tisha B’Av, as the day is called in Hebrew, occurred on August 8. At some point while revising that section of the book I realized that was about the same time of year as the yellow fever epidemic which nearly destroyed the entire city of Memphis. I saw that for my Jewish characters there were some parallels between the two events, so I juxtaposed their personal family tragedy temporally with this important date in Jewish history.

I’m thrilled to have a story coming out in such a respected journal. It’s a big milestone for me.