The Marzipan Fruit Basket
short fiction by Lucy E.M. Black

Print: 978-1-77133-377-1
ePUB: 978-1-77133-378-8
PDF: 978-1-77133-380-1

160 Pages
May 24, 2017
New Fiction All Titles Short Fiction


The Marzipan Fruit Basket short fiction by Lucy E.M. Black

The stories in this collection are unifed by a sense of dislocation. In each of the pieces, there is an underlying element of disturbance and disharmony. Resolution threads its way through the narratives while the characters struggle to navigate conscious choices and come to terms with new realities. A perspective that views the complexity of life journeys as a manifestation of intentional decisions, circumstances beyond one's control, and the need to reflect upon the combination of both in order to become fully realized, drives the narrative voices.

“Lucy Black arrives into the world of Can Lit with this compilation of beautifully written short stories that speak to the heart-felt intimacies of both her characters and her readers.”

—Donna Morrissey, author of The Fortunate Brother

“Water don’t always quench a deep thirst,” speaks one of her characters, but Lucy E.M. Black’s characters are a fresh drink of water in all their complexities. This collection is a glass brimming full with heartfelt narratives of people piloting through the denseness of life. Beautifully dark and light and honest and deep in the vulnerabilities we dwell in and share. A charming and gifted new voice in the growing landscape of Canadian literature."

—Gianna Patriarca, Gianna Patriarca, author of Italian Women and Other Tragedies and All My Fallen Angelas

"There will be no need for an editor to red-line superfluous text in Lucy Black’s debut story collection, The Marzipan Basket. Stories drive in a straight-line narrative, drawing, pulling, the reader into an emotionally epiphanic event in the life of the protagonist, often interwoven with that of an I-narrator and, with strong images, revealing a depth of feeling you will recall and relate to from your own experience. Ever-present in the lives of the characters are the pain and consequences of abuse, cruelty, indifference, abandonment, loss and loneliness, struggle, poverty, and love. These stories reflect moments in time; slices-of-life to which there are no resolutions; in this, author Lucy Black trusts her readers to envisage their own coda."

 —Rhoda Rabinowitz Green, author of Slowly I Turn, Moon Over Mandalay, and Aspects of Nature

The Marzipan Fruit Basket

Lucy Black is an educator. She studied creative writing at the undergraduate level and later earned an M.A. in nineteenth-century British fiction. Her short stories have been published in many publications including Cyphers Magazine, under the gum tree, the Hawai’i Review, Vintage Script, and the Antigonish Review. She lives with her husband and son in a small town near Toronto, Ontario. The Marzipan Fruit Basket is her debut collection of short fiction.

     I had been promised an adventure: a nice train ride, a
visit with Tante Edda, and a trip to the sea. This wasn’t a
nice train ride. My mother was acting strange. I didn’t like
it. “When can we go home?” I asked her. “I miss everyone.”
I didn’t want to go home particularly but I had discovered
that this question was a way to get attention. Usually it
made her circle me with her arms and smooth my hair,
and tell me what a good kind I was.
     “Not yet,” she answered crossly. “We have things to
do first.”
     This was not the expected response and I began to cry.
Little tears.
     “What’s wrong now?” she asked me. Clearly impatient.
     “I don’t like this,” I said. “I want to go home.”
     “I am home,” she said, “this is my home. Don’t you want
to be here with me? We’re going to the sea. You will meet
Tante Edda who I love very much. She has a big house
near the sea. She had a little girl once named, Maartje.”
     “That’s a stupid name,” I said but then because my
mother looked so annoyed by my response, I continued,
“tell me about Maartje, what happened to her?”
     And my mother began the story of Tante Edda and
Ome Hendrik, and Maartje and the terrible time near the
end of the war when there was nothing to eat but herring
and shrimp and no eggs and no vegetables because the
soldiers had taken everything, and how Maartje became
weaker and weaker and her little legs became so thin that
she couldn’t stand on them and had to lie down on the
bed all day long, and how she just faded away and died
and there was nothing to be done. And I fell asleep while
she was talking and when I woke up she was shaking me
and the train was stopping.

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