Kathleen Kern is a guest of our blog. She works for the human rights organization, Christian Peacemaker Teams, and has served on assignments in Haiti, the West Bank, Chiapas, Colombia, and with Indigenous communities in North America. Her first novel, Where Such Unmaking Reigns, was a finalist for Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize and won the PeaceWriting award from the Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology.
In her new work in progress, a dystopian novel The Price We Paid, the protagonist, a political dissident and philandering husband Islam Goldberg-Jones, is writing his way toward redemption. After three decades of incarceration for a crime he did not commit, he works on his prison memoir. The novel takes place in 2073.
Here are the lines 7-14 from p.77 of The Price we Paid.
My first years in prison, I probably replayed the food at that dinner as often as I replayed sexual encounters in my head. The way the turkey glistened and the skin crackled when you bit into it (it was basted inbutter—-almost everything had butter in it from the Webers’ cows. In my world, that amount of butter represented a half a week’s salary.) How the texture of the whipped potatoes and whipped sweet potatoes were two entirely different sorts of smooth, and how the skins of the cranberries prickled perfectly against the roof of the mouth in contrast to those smoothnesses.
Kathleen is still shlepping the novel around to agents. Her webpage: http://www.KathleenKern.net.