East Fifth Blissby Douglas Light
Enter Stefani, an eighteen
- Editorial Reviews
- Product Details
- Related Subjects
- Read an Excerpt
- What People Are Saying
- Meet the author
There are seven defining moments in a person's life. For Morris Bliss, the difficulty is in knowing which moments are defining. At age thirty-five, Morris Bliss is clamped in the jaws of New York City inertia: he wants to travel but has no money; he needs a job but has no prospects; he still shares a walk-up apartment with his father.
Enter Stefani, an eighteen-year-old girl in a catholic school uniform, and Morris's once static life quickly unravels. Stefani's father, oblivious to his daughter's doings, calls on Morris to work for him; Morris's best friend, N.J., whose only practice of economy is with the truth, is recruited by the Red Thread, an international cartel that controls global economics and local sex markets; and Morris's father, a taciturn widower, finally reveals the truth surrounding the strange death of Morris's mother.
A body at rest will remain at rest. Unless acted upon. With the agony of his inertia finally broken, Morris Bliss fights to keep his life from careening out of control. East Fifth Bliss follows Morris as he confronts the intricate and often confusing aspects of relationships, family, and identity. He must learn to adapt if he is to survive.
- Behler Publications, LLC
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Read an Excerpt
Morris stares at Stefani jumping on his bed, unable to break himself from watching. She's like a movie star or a brutal car wreck or a fireworks display on a clear, dark winter's night, something he can't take his eyes from.
A tepid, damp breeze laps in the apartment's propped window. Early April, and the late afternoon's light is clear and unsettling. It cuts the island and the streets, bright, blemishing, blinding.
New York City. Manhattan. East Village. Fifth Street.
"You know," Stefani says to him, bouncing naked, "I know you." Freshly turned eighteen-years-old-a fact she doesn't tire of stating, repeatedly opening her sentences with "Now that I'm eighteen . . . "-she attends the St. Benedict's Ukrainian Catholic High School on East Seventh Street. She's only a junior, though, held back her fifth grade year.
Thirty-five years old, Morris could be her father, a thought that isn't lost on him. A thought he works to reconcile, or at least suppress. "Yeah, I feel I know you, too," he tells her, the lightness of his three afternoon beers all but over. "Like we're connected," he says, and, feeling he sounds stupid, adds, "Or something." Naked himself and slightly slouched, Morris's body is the body of a swimmer who hasn't swum in years-thin and long limbed, but no longer fit. His looks are the calm, intelligent looks of an elementary school principal on summer break and his fingers the fingers of someone who takes care of what he touches, fingers of a concert pianist or bomb defuser or a painter who executes detailed portraits on grains of rice. They are fingers that poorly serve Morris. They're too precise for him; he's clumsy, often drops things. Yet they'dheld Stefani, run over her skin, touched her.
His best friend N.J. once theorized that there are seven defining moments in a person's life. We're born with them, like a tongue or toes. "Seven, man," N.J. said, holding up an open hand and two fingers.
Morris asked him to identify the seven, to explain what they signified. "For me to tell you that, man," N.J. replied, "would be like explaining a poem by playing the bagpipes. It doesn't work."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Morris asked.
"It means what it means, man." N.J. was fabricating his theory on the spot, Morris was certain. It was something N.J. did, fabricate.
Morris asked, "So what happens after I experience all seven?"
"You won't make the seven, man," N.J. informed him. "Only people like Jesus Christ or Evel Knievel make it to seven. Only people filled with wonder, man."
Initially, Morris felt he'd burnt through two moments this afternoon with Stefani. Now, he can't claim certainty.
What People are saying about this
Meet the Author
Douglas Light grew up in Indiana. His novel East Fifth Bliss received the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award for Fiction. His writing has appeared in various publications, including StoryQuarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Morning News. Named a finalist for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, his fiction has won an O. Henry Award, and was selected for the Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003 anthology.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >