Where the Dog Star Never Glows
by Tara L. Masih
8.5 x 5.5 paperback, 166 pages
Cover Artist Benita VanWinkle is currently a freelance instructor of photography, altered art, bookbinding, and other creative courses at Surry Community College, High Point University, and other institutions throughout the NC Triad region. She was Program Director at The Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem before leaving to pursue freelance teaching and her personal artistic passions. She moved to the Winston-Salem area from Atlanta, GA, where she was the college admissions director and photography instructor at The Creative Circus, a premier portfolio school.
Benita is a member of the Associated Artists of Winston-Salem where she regularly participates in gallery exhibitions and has earned awards of excellence in numerous exhibitions throughout the Southeast. Benita volunteers at many nonprofit institutions, including Forsyth Habitat for Humanity, the Children’s Home of Winston-Salem, The Sawtooth School for Visual Art, and Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center. She graduated with her MFA from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL, where she also served on the Board of Advisors for the Cinema and Photography department. She graduated from the University of Central Florida, Daytona Beach Community College (now Daytona College) and St. Petersburg Junior College (now St. Petersburg College). To see more of Benita’s work, visit www.BusyBStudio.com.
In this impressive debut collection, Tara Masih shows an intimate sense of understanding her characters' innermost feelings, creating a memorable map of diverse characters that span the globe and several eras. Ghosts dance, butterflies swarm, men crystallize, the sun disappears, and water plays a role in both destruction and repair of the soul. With an unflinching eye, a mythical awareness of the natural world, and poetic, crafted prose, Masih examines the dark recesses of the mind and heart, which often leads to a small or great triumph or illumination that will resonate long after the last page is turned.
About Where the Dog Star Never Glows
Tara L. Masih grew up in the small harbor town of Northport, situated along the Long Island Sound. Much of her time was spent on the beaches and in the woods, and as a result her writing is often set within the framework of nature and place. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have been published in numerous literary magazines, including Confrontation, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Natural Bridge, New Millennium Writings, Red River Review, Night Train, and The Caribbean Writer, as well as in many anthologies. Several limited edition, illustrated chapbooks featuring her flash fiction have been published by The Feral Press. Awards for her work include first place in The Ledge Magazine’s fiction contest, a finalist fiction grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Pushcart Prize, Best New American Voices, and Best of the Web nominations. Tara judges the intercultural essay prize for the annual Soul-Making Literary Contest, and is editor of the acclaimed Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction (2009). C. W. Post College presented her with the Lou P. Bunce Creative Writing Award upon graduation, and Emerson College, where she received her MA in Writing and Publishing, awarded her with a Bookbuilders of Boston Scholarship. Tara now works as a freelance book editor in Andover, Massachusetts. Her website is www.taramasih.com.
Praise for Where the Dog Star Never Glows
Grace Dane Mazur, author of Silk and Trespass
"This is a rich and surprising collection. I loved how—whether they are set in Dominica, Montana, Holland, the Mexican Border, New England, India, or the territory of schizophrenia—these stories are all concerned with seeking to find, or to lose—or simply to come to terms with—love and the self. The characters are wildly varied and wonderfully inhabited; the settings are intensely observed and believable."
Michael Hartnett, author of Universal Remote
"Revitalizing themselves in far-flung corners of the globe, Masih’s characters emerge at crossroads in their lives, groping to discover intimacies situated in the small spaces of vast landscapes. . . . [A] wise and beautifully written collection imbued with a sharp awareness that makes her subtle, emotionally honest portrayals haunting and powerful. It is impressive in its evocative breadth as it is in its intimate depth."
Kim Chinquee, author of OH BABY and Pretty
"Whether on a car ride, Coney Island—in Europe, or Appalachia, the stories in this collection are like eloquent journeys. Where the Dog Star Never Glows illuminates, gracefully, with keenness; with a sharp eye for emotion, and a zoom into the senses, Tara Masih is a talent, and this book is full of heart."
Laura van den Berg, author of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
"The characters in Tara Masih’s Where The Dog Star Never Glows are bright and daring, her prose vivid and full of poetry, her landscapes rendered with astonishing beauty. These stories will captivate readers of all stripes—a highly absorbing and original debut."
Jeff Talarigo, author of The Pearl Diver and The Ginseng Hunter
"Within each of these stories lies a surprise at the turn of the page. Sometimes subtle, sometimes not, but Masih always has a surprise waiting. This is a wonderful debut collection, which travelers should bring along in their backpacks or suitcases and savor in those moments of solitude."
Lisa Borders, author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, winner of the Fred Bonnie Memorial Award for Best First Novel
“These stories travel the world to explore a terrain more mysterious and fulfilling than place—that of the human mind and heart. The finely crafted prose and acute observations in this collection left an indelible impression on me. Where the Dog Star Never Glows marks the arrival of a gifted new writer.”
Yomimono: Where the Dog Star Never Glows provides a fine introduction to Masih’s poetic language, while taking the reader on a dazzling journey to distant landscapes and forgotten times. This is a stunning debut. ... read more... "Masih's especially vivid descriptions of landscape and setting allow the reader to become completely immersed in each of her tales, no matter how brief. This is an excellent collection that should appeal to many readers." ... read more... Reviewed by Elizabeth Schulenburg
Tara L. Masih. Press 53 (Ingram, dist.), $14 paper (166p) ISBN 9780982576052
In this 17-story collection, writer and editor Masih (The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction) examines characters balanced precariously on the edge of contentment and disillusionment. Delicate, sparse prose contributes to the heavy-heartedness of such stories as “Say Bridgitte, Please,” in which sadness overtakes ecstasy during a teenage girl’s sexual encounter with a stranger; and “Asylum,” as a daughter agonizes over her mother’s encroaching madness, and what it means for her own fate. Masih’s first-person narratives are the most riveting, whether assuming the voice of a young girl witnessing her parents’ marriage crumble from the backseat of a 1963 Thunderbird (“Sunday Drives”), or an aging father grieving the death of his friend’s adult daughter in the light of a late-winter bonfire (“The Burnings”). Compiled from two decades of work, Masih’s stories are minimally but skillfully detailed—no last names, vague settings—giving extra weight to simple, recurring phenomena like water and color (“the evening’s August melon light”). Striking and resonant, this collection should prove memorable for any fan of New Yorker-style literary short fiction.
Tara Masih’s short fiction has appeared in a number of well known journals for over a decade now, but Where the Dog Star Never Glows is her first collection of fiction. It does not disappoint... read more... The first thing that will strike anyone who reads Where the Dog Star Never Glows is the absolute precision of author Tara L. Masih’s prose. Throughout this collection of short stories, Masih firmly establishes herself as a master of what Gustave Flaubert (among others, including Nelson Muntz) described as le mot juste. Hers is a vocabulary wide-ranging enough to speak with studied expertise on matters ranging from tourist traps in tropical climes to the last moments of old men in tired coal mining towns, yet natural enough to talk about the trials and tribulations of a young mother-to-be in the simplest of terms, like starting a Jeep and heading for the Circle K to buy groceries. In other words, Masih has done what so many other writers spend a lifetime attempting: she’s grown so comfortable with words — the very stuff, the atoms of literature itself — that she can breathe life into the fictional worlds of her imagination with the greatest of ease. At least, that’s how it feels from the outside. Like the best of artisans, she makes her job look easy. ... read more... Tara Masih’s short fiction has appeared in a number of well known journals for over a decade now, but Where the Dog Star Never Glows is her first collection of fiction. It does not disappoint. .... This is a global collection that uses culture as more than color. Asking what it means to be a tourist, to be ruled, to belong, she crafts stories that delve into the essential questions of human nature that are never overly dense and are always pleasant to read. ... read more...
Reviewed by Alex Myers
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