Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Little Wolves"

Thomas Maltman’s essays, poetry, and fiction have been published in many literary journals. He has an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. His first novel, The Night Birds, won an Alex Award, a Spur Award, and the Friends of American Writers Literary Award. In 2009 the American Library Association chose The Night Birds as an “Outstanding Book for the College Bound.” He’s taught for five years at Normandale Community College and lives in the Twin Cities area. Little Wolves, his second novel, made the January 2013 Indie Next List and is an Amazon Book of the Month.

Maltman applied the Page 69 Test to Little Wolves and reported the following:
I find the Page 69 test suits my second novel Little Wolves, a story of murder in a small town, even though the action on that page is quiet. The novel features a braided narrative, a folktale woven into the story of a father searching for answers after his son has done something terrible, and a pastor’s wife and local school teacher who wonders if she could have prevented what happened. The pastor’s wife is pregnant, a failed scholar in Anglo-Saxon literature, and in this passage from page sixty-nine, a stranger slides a note under the door, a riddle like the ones she taught her class, and Clara is further haunted by her dead student.
Wolves under moon

child in her skin

the end comes soon

she will suffer for her sin.

Someone knew. Someone knew about the notes she had been keeping.

The first note she discovered near the overhead, pleated in a neat square with her full name printed on the outside. It was Clara’s third day as a long-term substitute and she needed to get the journals written out on the transparencies for first period. She unfolded the note, wondering who had left it there:

You have such a nice laugh, it makes me warm inside. But even when you are laughing your eyes look sad. You look like the loneliest person in the world.

Clara didn’t know what to do with it. She searched her mind for the faces of those who sat near the overhead, who might have slipped this note here. Part of her wanted to throw it away. Keeping it invited an intimacy. Keeping it meant the words printed there were true in ways she wasn’t ready to think about. She put it in her desk drawer, telling herself she would throw it away after school. But she never did and every other day when she came in the notes were waiting for her in the same place, tucked carefully under the big bulky overhead.
Learn more about the book and author at Thomas Maltman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue