The House across from the Deaf School: Stories

The House across from the Deaf School: Stories

The House across from the Deaf School: Stories

The House across from the Deaf School: Stories


The House across from the Deaf School, Michael Gills' third collection of short fiction, continues the life and times of Joey Harvell, whose stepfather, in "Last Words on Lonoke," gives him a.30-06, tells him not to aim at anything he doesn't want to kill, and "that's pretty much it for [his] gun safety lessons." Later, in "What The Newly Dead Don't Know But Learn," his uncle swims Joey and a group of fake cowboys across a creek on Camp Robinson, only a fisherman's trotline is stretched across the S-curve, and the result, like the book as a whole, is a hard fight there's no recovering from.

What others have said about Gills' work:

"Each word is a spark, every sentence a sizzling fuse. The a
sun-white conflagration, cleanly and cleansing. Michael Gills sojourned
in the heart of light and he has returned to his home world with that
light still cling to his ever utterance.."--Fred Chappell

"Michael Gills' prose reeks with accuracy and bulls-eye
intensity..."--William Harrison

"These stories are, scene by scene, sentence by sentence, beautifully
written--clean, gorgeous prose, perfectly pitched. The detail work is
exquisite. Suffering and loss are given their necessary place in these
stories, but so too are grace and mercy."--Donald Hays


We lived for a while—Mama, me, and O.W.—in a house across from Arkansas School for the Deaf. They’d just got married. I was best man in the ceremony where my adoptive father and I wore twin suits, down to the matched clip-on ties and spit-shined loafers. I stood in between.

When they said, I do, I said, I do. Till death do you part, Preacher said. Till death do us part, we three repeated. After sugar cake, O.W. drove us to our new house on Thayer Street, the top floor of a duplex just behind a gas station. Mama liked it because of the spiral staircase, a wiggly wrought-iron affair that was painted black and climbed up to a sort of balcony overlooking the school grounds. When O.W. twisted her up in his arms, Mama reached out and plucked a magnolia bloom, slid it behind an ear and smiled down at me so that her face glowed. “Love you, honey,” she said. O.W. and I met eyes. Then they disappeared over the threshold and I sat out on the balcony, watching the Zebra football team scrimmage in the afternoon heat.

They wore full pads under white jerseys, bright helmets with mouth guards stringered to face masks. Offense was ripping the Jesus out of the defense scrubs . . .

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