Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Holy Smoke

Holy Smoke

Holy Smoke
by Fanny Howe

Price: $17.95

Price: $12.50


A woman travels among geographies both real and imagined looking for her daughter.


About First Marriage:

"Poignantly sharp and perceptively accurate beyond all question-this book is humanly, unavoidably true. Read it and weep for all of us." —Robert Creely

On Fanny Howe's Work:

"Howe is a serious writer, a caring craftswoman-a find." —Publisher's Weekly

"…inspired use of language…deeply felt insights." —Newsday

"…concise and poetic, catching you off guard, riding you up and over events in a quick sweep of work associations…a writer of original grace and vision." —Boston Globe



I pulled in fifty bucks today. Mostly messenger service, which means I get some exercise on the elevators. I'm building up a regular clientele. Once I've got that, I won't need to hustle, no more. Black veins at daybreak on the windowpanes, skin of my home, one tree's black webbing.

Once I've got what I want, will I want what I have? This pursuit of money is a tribulation. Now I can say I am doing it for my daughter, but when she leaves, which will be soon, what can I say? What will I have to live for? The pursuit of the truth and wisdom is a full-time occupation, but I'll have to make money too. I'll have to drive the car around Manhattan, I'll have to talk to strangers, I'll have to listen.

The other night I took an elderly railroad worker home, and he was quoting e.e. cummings all the way uptown. "The country hasn't come to terms with cummings yet," he told me with great spirit, "too much attention on Whitman." So we had to continue this conversation over whiskey, in an Irish bar, for we were both stunned by our lack of solitude.

Today was a glorious day-the January thaw-blue sky-sunshine & warm. Every season but fall is a pain in this city. It was a day just like this when James the First was wasted. And the day before, when we were planning the hold-up and he kept saying, If the apple's ripe, Time falls. It was fall. And the day after, when I was in the slams, didn't have the kid any more, they had taken her screaming off to Separation City. And when she left her name was Pepita, and when she returned her name was Pepsi. Six years old, and nearly a stranger, having all the mannerisms f a family I never knew. How all our parents are strangers Time selects for us, and how children survive the most dreadful people!

Still I say it's a glorious feeling, though the prison sensation never leaves me. You pass through all the locked doors coming out and lock the car door, going away, and space has locks & keys, apartments, friendships, minds and words. Home is just your chosen prison and the only freedom left comes from feeling you are on the track of Truth.