Hunger Mountain: Heliciculture
Runner-up for The Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction and the Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize, “Heliciculture” is part of my recently completed collection.
The story begins:
“Ask anyone in Greece and they will tell you the same: our snails are best. From all over they come to our village in Crete to pluck the mollusks from their swirling shells and feel the soft dissolve against their tongues. My yia-yia says other restaurants are all the time with noise at dinner, but Artemidoros is quiet, a hum. Look around and it’s eyes closed, moans no bigger than whispers. When the people leave, stuffed, they look at my yia-yia and ask, “What is the secret? Tell us.” In the trembling spots of sweat on their foreheads you can see how much they want to know; they think if they too could make the snails at home, life would be better, maybe easier, which shows you what people know. But my yia-yia only smiles, her mouth twisted up on the left side. If the compliment is too strong—if she suspects envy—you can see on her brow the fear of the evil eye, so she mutters garlic under her breath for protection and hides in the kitchen to avoid a curse. And that is the end of that.”
To read the complete story, click here.