Excerpt from ‘Midnight in Exile’ by Andra Nicolescu
This novel excerpt was written by Andra Nicolescu in Ingrid Rojas Contreras’ 12-Month Novel Generator
Hayden—Your Pixie Helper.
Street between P and Q, ponder that perennial American penchant for naming streets with letters and numbers. As though it hadn’t enough history, or dead, to go around. But then the blustering wind sent him inside, where Miss Pixie (locally revered sprite of clearly lugubrious spirit) greeted him with a haphazardly curated clutter of surprises.
Piles of hackneyed sheet music, rotary telephones, defunct timepieces gave way to bowls of pastel-colored imitation pearls. A set of mauve embossed crystal glasses, eerie carbon copies of the mid-century types that Leon and the other Party bosses used to keep in their Ministry offices. The very implements of their lives, mutant innovations, their locution transformed by their passage from one shore of progress to the other. Just like himself: something once unspoiled, aged antique.
Paul’s eyes lingered on an ancient sewing machine, one just like his wife Ana had once owned.
Had Ana’s death not capped their years of marriage at a plentiful but fleeting fifty-three, she would have been right there with him, languishing in that same uselessly urgent sense of dislocation and apocryphal nostalgia. Laughing about how their granddaughter had cajoled them into lining-up to eat for no good reason at all. Lamenting that breakfast mustn’t against all logic be had in a restaurant—excepting of course some dusty hotel cafeteria on the Black Sea, in a resort town unfailingly named Olympus or Neptune or Saturn how many decades ago now?
Andra Nicolescu is a Romanian-American writer and human rights lawyer based in Geneva, Switzerland. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Glimmer Train, Catapult, Blunderbuss Magazine, and The Brooklyn Rail, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Andra is currently at work on her first novel, Midnight in Exile, and a hybrid intertextual family memoir centering on the literary lives and times of her Romanian grandmothers . You can find her at www.andranicolescu.com and on Twitter and Instagram @AndraOtilia.