Wednesday, November 15, 2023

SSW: "Dead Women" by Allie Mariano, PHILADELPHIA STORIES, Fall 2020; Fiction Editor: Teresa Sari FitzPatrick

Can be read here:

The FictionMags discussion list had a bit of a discussion of Marguerite Young a few weeks back, sparked by a New Yorker "rediscovery" of her most ridiculously long novel (half a decade ago, The Paris Review likewise took a whack). Given how Young tended to be drawn to subjectthat I am also, I was moved to search for her shorter work I thought I might've read over the years, and "The Dead Women" (collected in the Dalkey Archive retrospective Inviting the Muses: Stories, Essays, Reviews1994) proved elusive (if easier to find when one isn't catching something, but instead recovering), buthis story, with a similar title, popped up, and given I've not mentioned anything from Philadelphia Stories for a while...

Allie Mariano's story is deftly-written, a relatively slow burn as it contrasts a youngish academic's unwise affair with a married man (riddled with the usual character's [and people's?] fantasies of How Everything Will Surely Go Swimmingly) and a party being thrown by elder fellow academics who set her up, to some degree, with an Appropriate Young Male Relative, as the dinner  conversation is dominated by recent revelations, in this New Orleans-set story, of a string of murders of young women sex workers. Everything, including a lonely middle-aged male highway patrolman pulling her over on her way home to her paramour after the party, touches on the potential menace of contemporary life, invited and otherwise, and while it's not a revelation of a story, I'll take a look at further work by Mariano. 

Philadelphia Stories is a freely-distributed slim print magazine, as well as web presence, that has been visible in the city and environs for more than two decades, and more power to it. For more of today's short stories, please see Patti Abbott's blog, where these are gathered weekly.


  1. I read the story and I liked it. I also would be interested in more short stories by her. Because it was at Philadelphia Stories, for some reason I thought it was set in Philadelphia. So now I know where Lake Charles and Lafayette, Louisiana are.

  2. Yes, a hyper-local title such as PHILADELPHIA STORIES can encourage certain expectations. Note that Mariano published a collection with "Dead Women" as the title story...I'll be seeking it out...and reading the Young story (or rereading?) now that my head's clear enough to have found it...

  3. I did see mentions of that collection, but I could not find it on, Abebooks, or Amazon. If you find it let me know.

  4. It looks as if Black Lawrence Press gave the volume "finalist" status for their Hudson award in 2020, but didn't publish in, Gee, Thanks. Sorry I took that citation for publication.

    One can read some more of her work online via links here:

  5. I don't know where I saw it, but I saw a similar citation and assumed it had been published also.

    And thanks for finding that link to her work.



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