Monday, September 3, 2012


A graduate of Emerson College's MFA program, Maryanne O'Hara was a longtime associate editor at Ploughshares magazine. Her short stories have been published in Five Points, The North American Review, The Crescent Review, and Redbook, as well as the literary anthologies MicroFiction, Brevity & Echo, The Art of Friction, and Flash Fiction: Youth.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Cascade, her debut novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Cascade depicts a town meeting, where alarmed townspeople have gathered because the state is threatening to disincorporate and flood their town to build a reservoir. None of the main characters are on this page, but the town itself is a kind of character, and this scene plays out the personal dynamics that exist within the larger dilemma—those who would fight the state, those who have already given up.

Page 69, Cascade:
Onstage, Zeke, the chairman, hunched over a long wooden table with the two other selectmen, Hartwell Page and Peter Southwick. Clara Post, town secretary, bent over her notepad, scribbling, eyeglasses sliding down her nose, managing to seem both attentive to and oblivious to Zeke, who was talking in his animated way, stabbing at the air with a cigar, a stream of smoke trailing his gestures. Zeke had a gift for elegant gestures and elegant diction; he had once played the lovable, lying Falstaff in a production of Henry IV, the only time William Hart ever hired a nonprofessional actor. But Zeke had insisted he’d make a good Falstaff and he had, playing Falstaff comically, pathetically, brilliantly. At a few minutes past seven o’clock, he walked to the center of the stage and clapped his hands. A chain of coughs echoed around the room. Dez sketched him in a few short strokes, a caricature from a political cartoon—growling demeanor, fat cigar in his mouth, buttons about to pop off his vest. Shoes scuffled, chairs scraped, then the audience hushed and all eyes turned toward the stage.

Zeke spoke into the fat microphone. “Basically, my friends,” he said, his voice booming out through the window where it was carried away on the evening air, “we are between a rock and a hard place. The bottom line is that 1929 and our once-illustrious summer resident, Mr. Harcourt’s, once-influential political connections lulled us into complacency. Now Mr. Harcourt is cooling his heels in Sing-Sing and Cascade is facing abolition.”
View the Cascade trailer, and learn more about the book and author at Maryanne O'Hara's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue