A Review of Delaney Nolan’s Shotgun Style: A Diagram of the Territory of New Orleans


A Review of Delaney Nolan’s Shotgun Style: A Diagram of the Territory of New Orleans

By Christopher Lowe

Early in the title story of Delaney Nolan’s chapbook Shotgun Style: A Diagram of the Territory of New Orleans, the narrator describes winter in New Orleans as “barely a bruise.” As I moved through the collection, I thought again and again of that metaphor. I thought of bruises and winters that leave a mark. Nolan’s New Orleans is a bruised place, and it is inhabited by bruised people.

The pain of a damaged place is there in the eight stories of this collection. Physically, the New Orleans of Shotgun Style is still marred by Katrina. There are leveled houses and FEMA trailers, and the pain of those physical realities is at play, but the real pain, the pain that gnaws at the reader, is in the characters themselves. It is a pain that is rooted in loss. One of the best stories in the collection, “Little Monster” brilliantly illustrates Nolan’s skill with handling this loss. In the story, the main character finds a small monster in the gutter, takes it home, feeds it, cares for it. When it dies the next morning, she buries it by the river. The story is short, just three pages, but there is a fully formed narrative movement in that space, a shift from the strange allure of finding a monster to the graveside mourning of the final paragraph. “Little Monster” is a story that doesn’t reference Katrina, flooding, hurricanes, or even New Orleans. It is simple and direct, but there is an undercurrent of pain that throbs below its surface.

Nolan frequently pairs pain with desire. The characters in Shotgun Style yearn for something beyond themselves, something that they can’t articulate, something that may not even exist. In “We Shall Fill Our House With Spoil,” an unnamed narrator takes a job where she must contact people who have taken out classified ads and convince them to let her video them while they show off whatever it is that they’re selling. Her company will air these videos on public access for a portion of the sale. At first, she struggles with this, unable to connect with the people she calls. Eventually, she learns how to get a foot in the door. Once she’s inside their homes, watching them through the camera lens as they describe their possessions, desire takes root. She wants something from life, and she can see it, just out of the corner of her eye, as she’s videoing these people. She says, “I was looking for something. You would have been looking, too. I hadn’t found it in my family, in my sister… But I almost found it on that tape….” There is something out there in the world – call it connection or love or friendship – that she wants to grab hold of, but the only tool she has for accessing it is a camera.

There is a frustration, too, that mounts for the characters in Shotgun Style. It is frustration born from loss, from blocked desire, from lack of that “something” that the narrator of “We Shall Fill Our House With Spoil” is searching for. The beauty of the collection is in Nolan’s ability to take that frustration and pair it with a something more complex, something that hints at the possibility of healing, the possibility of connection, the possibility of “something.”

The final story in the collection, “Ninth Ward Hunters” is a brief piece, set during Mardi Gras. The narrator dances alongside a tribe of Mardi Gras Indians. She moves with them, tries to keep up. By the end of the story, her dancing has become something new. It is part funeral dirge, a lamentation for what is lost. As they move closer to the Ninth Ward, she says, “…now there’s nothing to see. Just government trailers. A bunch of overgrown lots. Just a bunch of empty space where something used to stand.” They are dancing toward this emptiness, and there is remembrance for what was there and for what was lost, but the other part of the dance is something else, something more complicated. A resurrection. “So we dancing towards it to fill it up,” she says. There is pain in that filling, but there is determination as well—a ferocity of intent. When she says, “Me, storm-wrecked, land-drowned, teeth out sharp like the right kind of animal: come to defend what’s mine,” we can see how it looks when the bruise begins to fade.

Delaney Nolan, Shotgun Style: A Diagram of the Territory of New Orleans, RopeWalk Press Fiction Editor’s Chapbook Prize, 2012.


Christopher Lowe is the author of Those Like Us: Stories (SFASU Press, 2011). His fiction has appeared widely in journals including Third Coast, Bellevue Literary Review, and War, Literature, and the Arts. He teaches English and Creative Writing at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA.

Tiger Moth

[This story was originally published in The Chaffey Review in May of 2009.  It is reprinted here with minimal editorial changes.]

Tiger Moth

by Raul Clement

For a long time after the boy’s death, the father sat in the darkened rooms of the house and stared at his empty hands. They were strange birds. The mother made several delicate attempts to pull him back into their world: she bought tickets to plays, she arranged dinner with the couple down the street, she ironed his suits. Then one afternoon she found him in Derrick’s bedroom, pieces of a remote-operated model Tiger Moth spread before him. With a penknife he was chipping a wing from the battered body of the plane.

I thought I should rebuild it,” he said.

How did you get in?” she demanded.

In the yard shadows played on the bleached frame of the shed he’d begun last summer. A tarp serving as a doorway beat in the wind. He was self-employed, a woodworker retouching antiques, and for nearly a month he’d taken no clients.

Well?” she asked.

He squinted at her and then went back to his tapping, until the motor spilled into his palm. He cradled it, tracing a sloppy scar of glue. “It’s smaller than I would have guessed. Odd…such a little thing could fly.”

He had found the key, then. She remembered locking Derrick’s room the day before the viewing. He should be buried in something nice, the mortician had said. She’d laid out three suits on the bed, ironing them and choosing matching ties, before flinging them to the floor, and the blankets with them, the sheets, the mattress slip. She rested her cheek against the naked mattress, feeling the springs behind its cool drum-tight skin—there was a rust-orange stain at the foot of the bed. Australia, she thought absurdly, it looks like Australia.

At last she stood, wiped the mascara smudges from her cheeks, smoothed her dress. From the closet she took a navy-blue uniform with wings stitched across the shoulders. That Halloween Derrick had been a pilot, part of a year-long obsession that included radio flyers, books on Charles Lindbergh, the Bermuda Triangle. He should be buried in this, not the starchy church attire he’d always hated.

The father had finished breaking down the plane, and had the pieces spread on a square of cloth. With a thin brush, he dabbed the propeller with red paint. He put on a few black spots.

Ladybug, he thought. Derrick used to pull them apart. Maybe this one would put itself together again and fly away.

She held out her hand. “Give it to me.”

Is it so late already?” He began to shuffle from the room.

Where’s the key? How did you get in?”

He glared at her as if she were being willfully dense. “He opened it for me.”

She went to the mirror in the hallway and ran her finger over the dusty lip, encountering loose metal. The key was where she’d left it. She locked the room, and taking the key to the basement, hid it behind the boiler, inside a box stuffed with her grandmother’s china.


That night she awoke with a bladder full of the wine she’d had to help her sleep. As she stepped into the hallway, she noticed an alien glow from behind Derrick’s door. She tried the knob and the door swung open. There was a magazine fanned out on the bed, a record jacket on the floor—things not in themselves meaningful, but disturbing because she couldn’t remember how they got there.

She hurried to the basement and dragged the box into the light. She dug around for the key, and when she could not find it, she removed the china, dish by dish. She unwrapped and shook out the brittle newspaper. The pages fell apart, leaving the smudges of letters on her fingertips. She held her shaking hands up to her face, and then spit on them, began rubbing them furiously on her nightgown. Then she remembered herself and let her arms fall to her side, looking about quickly as if to make sure she hadn’t been seen.

In the bedroom she shook him awake. “I don’t know how you did it, but this can’t go on.”

He rolled away from the light, smothering his head with a pillow.

The next morning she found him on the back porch, turning the nearly assembled plane in his hands, noting the way it caught and twisted the light.

He was grinning, proud but sheepish. “It’s really going to fly this time.”

Stop blaming yourself,” she told him.

But they were talking about different things. They always would be. Because there it was, over his shoulder, the shed—skeletal beams swaying a little in the foundation. As long as it stood, she knew, it would mock even their modest attempts to move on.


When Derrick was eight years old, she enrolled him in Cub Scouts. They met Sunday afternoons in the basement of a block-shaped church—Derrick and a dozen boys his age. She’d had to bribe Derrick with the promise of a new bicycle if he attended the meetings for at least six months. Her hope was that some of the enthusiasm of the other boys would rub off on Derrick, but before the meetings he wouldn’t join them as they traded comic books and dashed through the sprinkler on the lawn. Instead he took a seat on the church steps, waiting to be let inside. Three hours later he would be in the same position, studying his shoelaces in the cricket-filled dusk.

One evening, after several months of meetings, he ran to her car where she idled on the curb. He thrust a paper through the window, some sort of newsletter. “Model plane contest. We’ve got to build our own planes and install our own engines and the one that flies the best wins. Fifty dollars. There’s also a prize for best design.”

A few days later, he sat hunched over the kitchen table, an elaborate spread of penciled forms and symbols before him—blueprints for the assembly of a de Havilland Tiger Moth. From the doorway, she and her husband watched. “You know, the other boys’ fathers will help them,” she told her son.

The other boys won’t learn anything,” Derrick said.

Two weeks later, everyone gathered in a gravel lot outside of town. The lot was surrounded by toothy columns of pines, and just beyond, the throbbing passage of the river. Birds sang in high branches. The boys fidgeted in their crinkly uniforms, pants rolled up to relieve some of the heat. The planes were lined up in the dirt at one end of the lot, and there was a narrow length of tape at the lot’s opposite end, where onion grass swallowed the gravel.

You boys ready?” asked the scout leader. “What was that? You didn’t sound ready to me.”

Yes, sir!” came the boys’ trilling voices, and then one boy’s belated, “Let’s do it!”

The boys took their positions in front of their planes and the scout leader blew the whistle. The parents watched, leaning against the sun-warmed hoods of their cars, as the planes climbed into the air. But one plane wasn’t rising at all, was just bouncing across the pebbly lot, running aground on plastic bags and rocks, wheels spinning desperately, at last breaking free. The other planes had already landed safely and now everyone was waiting, watching the Tiger Moth as it lifted briefly off the earth, came smacking back down. Just before it reached the finish line, the plane leapt as if stung, climbing ten or fifteen feet in the air, before plummeting into the wall of grass.

The boys ran forward, looking for the lost plane. They wandered the field in circles and when that didn’t work, they combed the area in orderly lines. The parents joined them. Derrick drifted back to his parent’s car, and climbed into the back seat, slumping out of sight. The sun was sinking behind the trees before they found the plane, still mostly intact save a wing, buried in an anthill a few yards further on. They carried the broken body back to the cars.

But Derrick was not in the car. So another search party was formed, this one equipped with flashlights and cell phones, with which the parents radioed each other. Hours later, the last smear of sunset draining from a sky thick with crows, they found him in the spidery branches of a tree at a bend in the river. He was out on a thin limb, over an archipelago of slick rocks, the river gushing below him. The branch creaked beneath his weight, as if it might snap at any moment. He refused to come down.

Let me up there,” his father said, removing his jacket. He scaled the trunk and made his way onto a nearby branch. “Derrick,” he said. “How about you come in a little, so we can talk?” He reached out. “Will you at least hear what I have to say?”

There was a murmur from below as Derrick scooted a little closer to his father, and then a bit more. His father leaned forward, grabbing another branch to brace himself. He spoke in a whisper. He didn’t want all of them listening in.

I had a dream the other night,” he said. “Do you want to hear?”

Derrick stared at his feet dangling in the air. The river shuffled by. Small furry creatures rustled in the underbrush.

Me and you,” he continued. “we’re in a plane, and you’re flying. We’re over the coast of a tropical island. The water’s so blue it’s clear and we can see huge cities of coral just below the surface. You’re wearing a pilot’s uniform, a real one. ‘Want to try?’ you ask. I take the controls and I feel the heart of the plane. It’s like something alive, purring, telling us everything’s going to be all right. Don’t you want something like that?”

On the ground, the mother strained to hear. There was a brief quiet where Derrick might have said, “I’m scared.” Then, the father was holding his hand, guiding him down the tree. As the other fathers slapped him on the back saying “Job well done” and other things masculine and appreciative, the mother felt a surge of shame, and deeper than that, anger at Derrick for embarrassing her, at her husband for not helping him, at herself for stepping aside. She hurried back to the car.

In the bathroom that night, she stood behind her husband, watching him reflected as he brushed his teeth. She wanted to make some small gesture of forgiveness. “What did you say up there?”

The same thing you would have.” But he turned away from the mirror and wouldn’t let her see his face.


That night she awoke again. From the hallway came warbling music, so small and hesitant she couldn’t be sure it wasn’t in her imagination. Her husband was not in their bed. She followed the music into the hall, but it neither grew louder nor softened. Outside Derrick’s room, she pressed her ear to the door—nothing but the creaking of the wood, the hum of the boiler through the skeleton of the house. She turned the knob, but it wouldn’t budge. She kicked the door, making it shudder.

What’s going on here?” she demanded. But there was nothing but the far-off tick of a clock. She slid down the wall, collapsing on the floor. Tick-tick. Soon it was all she could hear.

It had been a bright Saturday in late winter, a cautious warmth to the air. She woke late, to the twang of a hammer on wood. She padded to the kitchen. She poured herself a cup of coffee and watched steam curl from the brim. She held the mug in both hands, feeling its heat creep up her arms. The cat leapt from the table to brush against her leg before finding its place in the shifting sun, where it yawned and closed its eyes.

She took her coffee and muffin out to the porch to let the sun soak into her bare feet. She didn’t drink in those days and she enjoyed the mornings. The shed was coming along smoothly, she decided, rafters and columns stamping the shape of a future enclosure. Her husband straddled a joist, bearing down with a drill. Derrick—up early the way he never was on school days—ran circles through the shed, squeezing through gaps in the wall. At one point he picked up a hammer and scaled a ladder until he was level with his father. He held out the hammer, but her husband waved it off. It was nice to see Derrick this way again, she thought, after the disappointments of last summer.

Derrick reversed down the ladder, leaping off halfway to land neatly on his feet. He wandered about, running his finger along the edge of a saw, kicking loose screws. He picked up a nail and squatted, writing something in the dirt. Then he looked up and she waved at him. He returned the wave and she went inside to practice piano.

The father, who had noticed the mother there and taken comfort in it, drove another nail home, enjoying the smell of new wood and the warmth of the sun on his back. Spring was coming and then he could lose himself out here, make something real. He’d tried to show this to Derrick, but the boy had never understood.

Hey dad,” Derrick called. He was halfway up the ladder, leaning forward. “I’m going to measure your angles. Watch.”

Be careful.” He fished another nail from the pack, bent low over the hammer’s arc. The vibration scooted the ladder to one side.

She was practicing her trills when she heard the small, strangled cry. A moment later, the screen banged shut. She ran into the kitchen to find her husband mashing buttons on the phone. He was shirtless and sweating. He met her gaze with wild eyes, seeming to see right through her.

He just…” he said. “I didn’t mean….”

She rushed outside, knowing what she would find, but pulled by some hysterical compulsion to see it, to really see. The first thing she came across were his feet, splayed awkwardly in the red Converses she’d bought him for his last birthday. One shoelace was untied. She wanted to tie it, but then she took a step forward and saw his head, twisted and limp on his neck. His arms were beneath him. She pulled him to her and breathed into his mouth. She was still doing this when the ambulance arrived.


A branch battering a window made her jump. She didn’t know how long she’d slept, or if she’d slept at all. The wind howled through the rooms of the house. She tried Derrick’s door again and this time it swung open, almost without her touching it. She hesitated, then stepped inside.

The bed looked slept in, the sheets in disarray. She searched for some familiar shape there—a friendly face, a continent—but there was nothing. Just the empty mattress, begging for his small weight. She remembered his breath as he slept, soft and easy. She’d sometimes sneak in at night and stand in the doorway, trying to imagine his dreams. She could almost hear him now, but it was all too distant, too far away. And it grew further every day.

A crash came from downstairs. She ran down the steps and found the front door banging in its hinges. Her husband stood on the lawn, facing the street, a heavy, square box in his hands. Wind furrowed his hair, tossed leaves in a winding, erratic ballet. There was a shiver in the air. She touched his shoulder, hesitated. He was working the joystick of a remote control, pulling and tapping it with his thumb. A sheet of lightning stamped the sky and she could see the plane as it dived between the tall, dark trees. She wanted to say something, anything.

Weather’s changing,” he said without turning, voice flat, as if this were the simplest of facts.

Beyond Quirky Chic: A Review of Chris Adrian’s A Better Angel

Beyond Quirky Chic: A Review of Chris Adrian’s A Better Angel

by Raul Clement

Let’s start with the obvious. Chris Adrian writes autobiographically. Or maybe that’s not so obvious—not obvious at all if you aren’t familiar with his biography.  The stories in A Better Angel, his first fiction collection and third book overall, feature murderous children and out-of-body experiences, drug-addicted doctors and, yes, angels. Not seemingly the stuff of autobiography.

But read some press on Adrian and it’s clear where his material comes from. A pediatrician and former seminary student, his second novel and best book to date, The Children’s Hospital, is about a biblical flood that consumes the earth, leaving only a children’s hospital to float, ark-like, on the seven-mile-deep waters.  Another big theme is loss and grief, and so it’s unsurprising to learn that his brother was killed in an automobile accident. In fact, several of the stories in the collection feature dead or dying relatives.

Adrian writes in a style I would call magical realism, though I can imagine the stories in this collection being described as fabulist, allegorical, and occasionally even sci-fi. Whatever you want to call it, the way a standard Adrian story works is this: the magical, supernatural, divine or surreal sit squarely on top of the real, buoying it and giving it a kind of mythical importance. The effect is pretty darn cool, honestly. Seductive.

But is that always a good thing? Sometimes this technique can feel like a crutch, something to truss up an otherwise psychologically unconvincing story. “The Vision of Peter Damien” describes a plague in 19th-century village. The character Peter Damien contracts a sickness that makes him hallucinate falling people, a pair of silver towers, birds racing through the sky. The other children in the village begin to have similar hallucinations. Gradually, it emerges that the towers are the Twin Towers, and the birds the two planes that crashed into them. There is a further 9/11 allusion in the fact that Peter’s brother, Tercin, ends up hiding in a cave.  It’s pretty clear what Adrian wants us to get out of this: 9/11 was a sickness, but one that may prove uniting and redemptive. Adrian is big on the redemptiveness of suffering.

This is not and of itself an uninteresting suggestion—though I do think it forces a positive meaning on an event that, regardless of your interpretation of world politics, has none. But the main problem is that the characters are mere vehicles for the theme. Why is the story set in a 19th-century village?  Why is it Peter who is first blessed or cursed with the vision? If there was something unique about him—some special sensitivity—it might make sense. But he seems like an ordinary little boy. And why does Tercin, though admittedly a tormenter  of his brother, play the role of Bin Laden? There is no suggestion that he precipitated the sickness. Due to these unanswered questions, this story doesn’t work as allegory, and yet it doesn’t present enough depth of character for us to want to read it otherwise.

At other times, Adrian falls in love with his own quirky conceits, language, and images, becoming just another contemporary writer of a style you might call quirky chic. If you’ve read journals like McSweeney’s or seen any recent “indie” romantic comedies—Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, Away We Go (the latter written by McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers)—you’ll know what I mean. These works make a fetish of the odd detail—the hamburger phone Juno uses, the bizarrely-themed restaurants in the works of George Saunders—sometimes at the expense of real character work. Again, “The Vision of Peter Damien” is a perfect example of this—perhaps all the more egregious an offender because the 19th-century setting allows Adrian more wiggle room. And so within the first paragraph we have “the pearly botch,” “the oak gall,” and “the yellow flux.” Now, no doubt there were diseases with these names (it’s not hard to guess that “oak gall” is poison oak), but one example would have sufficed.

These details are supposed to make the story more believable—because as every good liar knows, it’s the unexpected that convinces—but in reality they do the opposite. They are either too outlandish to be believable or draw too much attention to themselves, and once having done so, don’t bear up to our scrutiny.  Or they just feel arbitrary. Should I care that a character always wears a particular quirky article of clothing or would my time be better spent learning how she feels about her father’s death? In the case of “The Vision of Peter Damien” Adrian is trying so hard to prove that he knows what he’s talking about that, paradoxically, we end up less convinced. And other stories, like “Stab”—about a Siamese twin grieving for his other half by murdering neighborhood animals—go so far over the top that we lack an empathetic reference point.

Here’s a typical Adrian story, and given the fact that it’s the title story, one might think that Adrian or his publishers thought it was one of the better one’s in the collection: a drug-addicted pediatrician reluctantly returns home to take care of his father.  Since childhood, he has been visited by a harpy-like angel, who has tells him he “will be great and do great things.” So far, he has not done so: he is incompetent as a doctor, having cheated his way through medical school, and has since coasted by in the relatively undemanding world of family care.  Now that his father is dying, the angel’s injunctions take on a more specific theme: he must cure his father and all his sins will be absolved.  “Just put out your hand,” the angel tells him.  “Touch him and make him well.”   The laying-on-of-hands symbolism should be obvious. Nor is it the first time he’s used it. In The Children’s Hospital, the female protagonist, a semi-incompetent intern, is given the ability to cure all the children in the ward simply by touching them.

But Adrian’s miracles are complicated, ambiguous. In The Children’s Hospital, the cure is only temporary, a postponement of Judgment Day. And in “A Better Angel” there is no miracle at all. The father dies; the son does not save him. Or maybe this a miracle, after all. The father has been released from his misery, with his estranged son there to comfort him in his last minutes. That the son falls asleep with his hand on his father’s shoulder and his head on his chest—and that it is after this that he wakes up and finds his father dead—suggests that death was the cure.  And maybe this small redemption is miracle enough.

Back to the angel, though. What does she—for it is female, though it can take on any form—represent? Is she the hallucination of a drug addict in withdrawal (she grows calmer and less demanding when he self-medicates)? But if so, why has he seen her since childhood? Is this merely a case study of a lifelong schizophrenic?  Is she his conscience made visible? Or is she a literal agent of God come to command him? Or is she just a convenient literary symbol for things like duty, kindness, charity, and redemption?

To Adrian’s credit, he never answers these questions. But at the same time, I have a hard time deciding whether all this scaffolding is richly ambiguous, in the way good literature should be, or just distracting. Because the thing is, the character in “A Better Angel” never really emerges, for all the originality of his conception.  Does he want atonement? Does he even care? Or does he refuse it because he’s too afraid? The latter is closest, I think…but why? What is the root of this fear? Instead of delving into the narrator’s head, all his problems are externalized in the form of this angel—who, even if she is a product of his subconscious, still seems a little too forceful a way of presenting the same.  As a reader there’s a joy in discovering— through subtext, through telling contradiction, and through concrete action—the secret part of a character, the part that he doesn’t even fully admit to himself. Like dream sequences, the angel in this story deprives the reader of a lot of that joy.

And I think this goes to the heart of my problems with this collection—inventive, seductive, thrilling and just downright bad-ass as it sometimes is. It’s rhetorical technique—this mashing together of the everyday and the divine, most notably the worlds of medicine and childhood and loss against the worlds of angels and prophecy—distances us when it should draw us closer. I don’t think this is necessarily a mistake on Adrian’s part—in fact, it feels pretty intentional—but it does seem like Adrian doesn’t trust his base material enough to let it be.  If he adds angels—and when I say angels, I mean any of the supernatural or surreal elements of this collection—then it will be important. Never mind the fact that a story about a doctor helpless to save his father, and written by someone with intimate medical knowledge, carries its own interest. In the world of quirky chic this is not enough.

I am probably being a bit unfair lumping Adrian’s writing in with the rest of the quirky chic. The best Adrian stories use their techniques to explore things they could not otherwise. My personal favorite in this collection is “The Sum of Our Parts.” In it, a suicide victim is maintained on life support in a hospital. Her spirit hovers in a kind of limbo, unable to leave the hospital until her body dies. She floats from room to room and in this out-of-body state discovers a new capacity to read minds. She is privy to the secret lives of doctors—their thoughts about each other, their lusts and petty grudges—as they go about their rounds. The inner workings of a hospital are described in fascinating, authoritative detail while the story is moved forward by Beatrice’s ghostly wanderings. The title, at first just a reference to  Beatrice’s multiple organ transplants, takes on a richly layered meaning as we come to understand how humans as a whole are more than the sum of our parts—all of our actions spread out in a web of consequence not unlike the invisible net that pulls Beatrice back whenever she tries to leave the hospital.  Each person is an organ, humanity a body. Adrian might have arrived at this idea through a simpler omniscient story about the people in a hospital ward, but in the creation of Beatrice—a literalization of the omniscient narrator, disembodied, outside the action, able to go anywhere—he has given himself justification for the technique and added levels of metaphor that wouldn’t exist otherwise. The story was written this way because it had to be; it was the only way of saying what Adrian wanted to say. That is not true of all the stories in this collection.

For better or worse, Chris Adrian is a writer of high moral seriousness: even when the conceit overwhelms a story’s effect, his aims are large. He is concerned with no less weighty subjects than grief, loss, redemption, and the apparition of the divine.  Maybe to tackle those subjects, a bold, elevating technique is what’s required. At their very best, Adrian’s stories allow us to hover, angel-like, above the action, observing it all with the cruel, tender detachment of God.

And that in itself is pretty divine.

Raul Clement is a fiction writer, musician, and poet living in Greensboro, NC. His work has appeared in various literary journals.