Shopping Cart



Day 1

W-3 by Bette Howland

Chapter I (p. 1–13, through "no one was home")

October 19, 2022 by Lynn Steger Strong

Every time I read this opener I feel a thrill: is there a more perfect entrance to a book than the close proximity to another person's beating heart? Add to that that this one is faulty, maybe passed saving; add to that the "I" doesn't enter until the second paragraph...

"The only real stimulus was pain, and I couldn't figure out exactly where it was coming from." Our narrator has no interest in cause or explanation; she is teaching us, gradually and all at once, to sharpen our attention to the sounds and shapes of others' pain, their beating hearts.

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin… At last it had dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." She is without her voice, throat rubbed raw by her suicide attempt, but she is here to offer us some of what life is once you look at it straight on.

Sign up for A Public Space's Newsletter