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Beautiful Soon Enough

Margo Berdeshevsky

Publication Year: 2009

Winner of FC2's American Book Review/Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize

Margo Berdeshevsky’s Beautiful Soon Enough is a collection of hypnotic stories that capture the lives—worldly, sexual, obsessive—of twenty–three arresting women.These are snapshots and collages: stories of women on the outside, looking in; of women content to end their affairs; of young women learning the power of seduction; and of older women reminiscing about past loves. They are women who cannot live without love’s embrace, and women who have found it and feel that it is never enough. They are women of a “certain age,” as the French might say, and women with naked hearts, of any age.Berdeshevsky’s tales cross the planet: from beds in Paris to the roofs of Havana, from Venice Beach to the hills of Dubrovnik. With settings as varied as the characters they depict, these tales illuminate the lives of women desperate for a balance between love, comfort, and freedom. Personal, driven, and lyrical, together they are Beautiful Soon Enough.



Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Cover Page

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p. 1-1

Title Page

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pp. 2-11


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pp. 11-14

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pp. 15-18

The woman stands in the beige lace belt, which is a gift that was in her mailbox this morning. She had said—I will not celebrate love’s day anymore, unless or until some good man leaves me beautiful lingerie in my letter box. ...

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Cannibal Notes

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pp. 19-24

Dawn before hot rolls or crows, before monks and nuns in woolen hoods and naked feet, and kneeling. She has an hour in the church-candle darkness before the crazed neighbor she’s fascinated by comes in with his cologne again, louder than incense, seducing her. ...

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A Friday Desdemona

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pp. 25-34

I’m not a star-fucker. I’m a girl who makes him pay attention. I’m white and large-thighed. I’m new passion. I’m cougar-eyed just like him. I’m desperate for peace. I’m a lover, not a warrior. I’m courageous. I’m rain. I’m a liberal. I’m not my mother. ...

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pp. 35-40

He comes to her bed wearing a single long white opera glove. It’s meant to titillate, and it does. Surprise her. And it does. This is the hand that can wipe away dead skin. And dead sex. And dead love. She knows this. Why else would she bed a married man? ..

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Before the Second Taste

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pp. 41-50

She returns to the city where she was born, like a woman with a fear of spiders. Rich men harbor here. No one will blame her for hunting. Pull in, pull in like a tall ship. She does not have to go to the childhood playground, or the lobby where they carried out her corpses. ...

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Small Craft

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pp. 51-56

His coffee tastes like chocolate and cherry. At his garage door, he nods vaguely, finishing his juice. —It’s good for you, kid, this is a big town. You’re a little svelte part of it. She snaps a gardenia from his bush on the way to her car. Shakes it hard, to get rid of its tiny ants. ...

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For Flame and Irresistible

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pp. 57-62

Tandy was / is / was / is giving away her flaming copper locks, all her opened blossom pink, always did, always will, but no one’s buying. Into the tender erotic saleable defended shine of passed-by-now like second-round marked-down maybe scuffed spike heels & fading eye-bright, her tight pants stand. ...

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Heart Open as a Jaw

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pp. 63-68

He blesses the day. They dance out for hot cocoa, which she pays for, and he preaches the distribution of wealth to street people who walk in the light, the act of loving one’s enemies to death, meaning one must recognize darkness and call it by its rightful name. ...

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Troika for Lovers

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pp. 69-78

What she had noticed first was the hump. Then the moist warm eyes and the very high heels that wobbled slightly. Poor woman, she was thinking. But by then the misshapen mother of the man (who had two wives and herself as a pet guest) was kissing her. ...

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pp. 79-88

She’s young, he’s younger. Outside, it is night and spring is deeper and colder than it was yesterday. But the girl wears her tight white tee-shirt, for the sex of it, for bringing on the season, an invocation of magic. Her breasts are so full of rain, and so ready. ...

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White Wings They Never Grow Weary

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pp. 89-90

The decapitating and bruise-purple sea that hurt them all, swallowed their babies and mothers and wives and hands, has paused. Is full-bellied. Has plenty of new lovers. And its fish are all fat and bloated and fed. ...

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Pas de Deux, À Trois

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pp. 91-100

Ok, blond. Ok, fifty. Ok, an emotional centipede, a poet, a vagabond. Ok, she drinks tea with milk, café au lait, when it doesn’t make her breasts ache. Ok, is homeless in spirit and has a house between a sleeping volcano and the wind-slapped sea and nowhere—now she has a pied-à-terre in Paris. ...

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pp. 101-104

It had begun in an alley after the snow drifts had covered all that was there before last night. In ancient Rome, the central arenas had been strewn with sand, to soak up the blood. Here was a cement sea studded with islands of unknown footsteps. It was only quiet, and white, and secreted. ...

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pp. 105-114

When Amelia held the monstrous birth in her arms she froze. She could make no appropriate sounds. She wanted to growl. But already she had wept, and forced herself to stop it. She clenched her molars. Two little torsos shuddered. Their faces turned blood-clot dark. She looked at them like a cut finger. ...

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pp. 115-120

But there in that vast Parisian park, an old man loved Botticelli, and Reubens, and round-assed women. There, he’d told a girl he loved like a wild-breathed Artaud, how Versailles was built. How the women of Paris descended on it, demanding bread, bearing bullets. ...

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Con un Beso de Amor

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pp. 121-130

Yes, I’m going to Cuba. To make erotic photographs. I know it is not comfort; how could I write comfort; what to weave it of ? I have no such thread, not now. My world verges on 1939, year after year. There is a Middle East, an American White House with war in its bared teeth, and madmen replicate in every country, like strings of paper-cut dolls. ...

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Le Serveur

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pp. 131-140

The city is a lover with the dragon-river running like a golden mud between his long thighs, that’s how Louise sees it, and has since she first fell in love with Paris. And her other lovers are fewer than they were, by far. ...

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pp. 141-146

Around the corner from my fancy East Side school there’s a window on Lexington Avenue with cages in it. At home I live in a cage too. It’s green, wallpapered with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and expensive paintings on our walls; my father collects them, he likes landscapes. ...

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Beautiful Soon Enough

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pp. 147-152

There is a white mist swathing the chapel like an infant and like a shroud and like a rip in the fabric of suspicious time, and a new fabric woven just for this night. And she approaches it. An odd little woman. Small. Not dwarfed, but tiny, dressed in long and used black velvet. ...

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pp. 153-158

Medieval Dubrovnik rises from the tide to the mountain, and its music hasn’t been shattered yet. Years before the Serbo-Croat warblood spits across its hills, yet again, those cobblestones blaze in the Adriatic sun. An ancient village built on slopes, it’s like a smoked topaz in the coastal light. ...

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pp. 159-166

There is a story that is told in the Pacific nights, about the goddess of fire, when she was pursued by an overeager king. He was a conqueror, and she didn’t want to be conquered. She hid inside a cave in the depths of her earth, red with tarnish, its walls of sculpted flame points, silver-long and giant; ...

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pp. 167-170

The contract they made when it began had this for content: When or if we do not love as we do now—we can stop the engine. That’s it. We’ve said it. All I have is you. And they signed it, their fingertips dipped first in a hundred-dollar bottle of red wine and then in each one’s perfume. ...

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Scissors, Paper, Rock

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pp. 171-174

It swerved through the room, striking a narrow slit into an opening that blinded him in one eye. The sister had thrown her scissors at the little boy. No one could forgive her. Just because he had been screaming for them. ...


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pp. 175-178

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pp. 179-180

I am grateful to the editors of the following publications in which stories from this book have appeared (some in earlier versions): Agni, “Pas De Deux À Trois,” “A Friday Desdemona,” “Troika for Lovers”; Confrontation, “Donkeys”; Nimrod International, “Contract”; Poetry International, “Philomel”; ...

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About the Author

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pp. 181-182

Margo Berdeshevsky currently lives in Paris. Her poetry collection, But A Passage In Wilderness, was published by Sheep Meadow Press in December 2007. Her honors include five Pushcart Prize nominations and special mention citations in the 2008 & 2009 Pushcart Anthologies, ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781573668125
E-ISBN-10: 1573668125
Print-ISBN-13: 9781573661492
Print-ISBN-10: 157366149X

Page Count: 183
Illustrations: 28
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: 1st ed.