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Short Stories 365/293 | N.S. Beranek

“Fin de Siecle” by William Sterling Walker from Chelsea Station, Issue 4. Edited by Jameson Currier.

My god, I loved this story. The language is extraordinarily rich. Lush. Gorgeous. It’s the languorous pacing, though, that perfectly captures what it’s like to wander about in New Orleans. I wished it would never end.

Tom Cahill has been drawn back to New Orleans by a ghost, one that takes form via his memories of, and regrets about, the man he loved: Michael. Almost immediately after his arrival he crosses paths with someone he knew well when he lived in the city, a singer named Fortunate Champagne.

This isn’t a plot-driven story. The two wander in and out of old haunts in the French Quarter, reminiscing about Michael. It might not sound like much but I promise you, it’s riveting. It’s also dangerous. It will make you long to visit (or re-visit) that city, and it will make you certain you have lived your entire life incorrectly.