Notes From Mexico by Courtney Maum
Winner of The Cupboard’s 2012 Annual Contest.
40 pages. Perfect-bound.
Courtney Maum’s Notes from Mexico is part travelogue, part eulogy—a marriage ending within and somehow beyond the narrator’s control. She has come, for a time, to Mexico. A Mexico where the men are lithe prowling creatures and the women are “yellow willows of sequin spank and clatter.”
Told in 21 brief chapters, Notes from Mexico is a book, as Judge Maud Casey says, that’s “wickedly funny but never rests on its cleverness. Instead, the wry sensibility walks a razor’s edge; danger lurks in the taut language, the refreshingly strange observations, the poignantly tippy searching. Like the songwriter Dory Previn, about whom the narrator says, ‘no one gave enough respect,’ this story has an eye for the unsettling, resonant detail and the winning oddness of the world, as well as a lovely, fresh agility when it comes to wrangling with behemoths like marriage and having, or not having, children. Most of all, the pleasure here is in the fleetness of this voice and its deft ability to reside in, and to illuminate, uncertainty, for which its author deserves an enormous amount of respect.”
Courtney Maum writes humor columns for Electric Literature, Tin House, and Barrelhouse, and frequently publishes fiction and non-fiction in other magazines. She has a novel called John Mayer Reviews Things which hasn’t found an editor yet, but maybe by the time you read this, it will have. You can find some of Courtney’s writing at courtneymaum.tumblr.com or follow her on Twitter @cmaum.