Sunday, November 3, 2019

"The Worst Kind of Want"

Liska Jacobs holds an MFA from the University of California, Riverside. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, The Millions, and The Hairpin, among other publications.

Jacobs applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Worst Kind of Want, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I ask Hannah to get me water but Donato volunteers.

“Silvia,” he calls out. “Come downstairs with me.”

I feel every cell bristle. Of course, they are together, and why should that matter to me anyway?

Hannah puts her head on my shoulder. “Do you think Silvia is very pretty?”

Tiny lights strung across the terrace turn on and I can see her watery eyes. Below I hear Donato’s laugh.

“She’s a lot older than him,” I say.

“Only by five years.”

Her body starts to shake, tears fall on my shoulder. Hush, I tell her. Hush. Instinctively I look around to see if any of their friends are watching.

“Come on.” I pull her up from the settee. “Call us a ride, and I’ll get your backpack. We can pick up a pizza on the way home.”

I wipe the smeared mascara from under her eyes and point her toward the stairs. I say goodbye to her friends, making up an excuse that Paul wants us home. He’s made dinner. I can tell Donato doesn’t believe this, but he doesn’t say so. When he kisses my cheek, I cannot help it, I press him against me. He feels broader than I thought he would, and that liquid fire at the center of me rejoices.

In the cab Hannah gives in. She is bawling.

“I miss Mom,” she chokes out. “I miss her so much.”

Letting her drink was probably a bad idea, but isn’t she old enough to know her limit? Or at least learn what it is? I knew not to drink a third Bellini at fifteen, or if Guy offered to make me a screwdriver, to drink it slowly because he always made them very strong.
I’m so pleased this worked! Page 69 has all the emotional elements of the book. Cilla playing the role as mother and caretaker of her niece Hannah, her burgeoning desire for the seventeen-year-old Donato, the pushed aside grief surrounding the death of Hannah’s mother (Cilla’s sister), and Cilla’s resentment toward her youthful romance with an older man. How wonderful.
Visit Liska Jacobs's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Worst Kind of Want.

--Marshal Zeringue