On Monday, February 2, New Issues will release the next title in the AWP Award Series in the Novel: We Agreed to Meet Just Here by Scott Blackwood. Author Robert Eversz, who picked Blackwood for the award, called his novel "a lyrical mystery about disappearance, told in precise and luminous prose.” Enjoy this beautiful image of the character Natalie, created by Dean Blackwood at Medium designs.
"For three summers, Natalie Branch was our pool lifeguard. She wore an old broad-brimmed white hat, the kind a fifties movie star might wear, while perched on her platform overlooking the pool. We coveted Natalie’s smooth pale skin, her wide hips and large breasts, so unlike the tan boyish bodies of the other girls who worked the pool.We watched with a kind of awe across the water as she gazed down between her knees at a knot of rulebreaking teenagers, some of them our own sons and daughters, their faces repentant. Later, she’d wave them over and they’d talk excitedly with her, forgetting themselves, their limbs intertwining lazily with the legs of her platform. We understood. Sometimes we pretended Natalie was our girl. So what did Natalie have to say? we’d quiz our children on the walk home, our secret hearts clenching. Vacationing in Colorado or on South Padre Island, we’d suggest sending Natalie a postcard and our children would give us sheepish looks and go silent, as if they suspected. And sometimes we’d see Natalie standing in line just outside the pool at Jim-Jim’s Fruit Ice stand, talking to college boys about a local band or a foreign film showing at the University (Almodóvar, a name we rolled in our mouths like a lozenge). She’d let the college boys buy her mango ices and then dismiss them, all the same, with her wide, canted hips, promising only that she’d be at the pool again tomorrow, the white hat askew on her head, fingers winding and unwinding her tethered whistle." - from chapter one