Working Titles

Welcome to the Massachusetts Review's Working Titles! Working Titles are e-publications of prose too long for our print pages. Working Titles will be published bimonthly.

Working Titles are now available on Weightless Books, a local, independent e-book distributor. You can also find all of our Working Titles may be purchased as Kindle Singles or Kobo.

Working Titles are made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Five Colleges, Inc., and the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, as well as private donors.

Working Title 2.4: The Keepers of the Ghost Bird

THE KEEPERS OF THE GHOST BIRD chronicles the astonishing rediscovery of the Bermuda petrel, believed to have been extinct since 1625. It is the story of a tenacious bird and the naturalists who now fight to save it, amid the degradation of habitat in Bermuda. Dean’s tale of unlikely resurrection blends ecological and human history to weave a vivid and poetic tale of optimism and courage, a heartfelt portrait of human ingenuity and biological survival. Read an excerpt here and purchase on Kobo, Amazon or Weightless Books.

Jenn Dean holds an MFA in Literature and Nonfiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars. A portion of her book-in-progress, House of My Sleepless Nights, was published in Salamander, and her interview with the writer Jane Brox appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle. Awarded a Millay Colony residency, she’s been a featured artist in SoundFalls, an evening of music and stories, in Carnation, WA, and was a finalist for the Lamar York Non-Fiction prize. Her essay, "After Pilgrim," was published by Platypus Press. "The Keepers of the Ghost Bird" was a 2016 finalist in the New Millennium Writings Literary Awards. Visit her website here.

John R. Nelson has contributed the essays "Parting Words" (on writing eulogies) and "Birds and War" to the Massachusetts Review. His narrative "A Morning on the Rio Negro" was the feature article in the June 2017 issue of Birdwatching, and his essay "Dislocation" is included in the Summer 2017 online issue of The Compassion Anthology. He has been awarded a 2018 Pushcart Prize for "Funny Bird Sex," the lead essay in the Winter 2016 issue of The Antioch Review. John is also the author of Cultivating Judgment (New Forums Press), on the teaching of critical thinking across the curriculum.

"The Keepers of the Ghost Bird is nature writing at its finest—a fluid blend of natural and human history, vivid images of the cahows’ rugged home, a heartfelt plea for bird conservation, and the story of a personal quest and discovery."  --John R. Nelson, Introduction to The Keepers of the Ghost Bird

Working Titles Currently Available

Working Title 2.3: The Leader

THE LEADER follows three generations of a
Libyan family during the reign of Muammar   
Gaddafi. Moving back and forth in time over the 
course of nearly forty years, the story traces 
the ways that violence and repression echo 
through each member’s life. Read an excerpt 
or buy from Amazon, Kobo, or Weightless.



Working Title 2.2: Time Served

TIME SERVED explores the plight of military
veterans deported after serving time for
felonies. In this searing investigative report,
J. Malcolm Garcia asks, “What makes someone
American?” Garcia follows four deported vets
as they work to return to their families and
the country that they served. Read an excerpt
or buy from Amazon, Kobo, or Weightless.


Working Title 2.1: "Chaotic Freedom" in Civil War Louisiana

Henry S. Gere and Marshall S. Stearns are
transformed for the better through the
Civil War. The photograph they collaborated
to produce became the Civil War emblem
featured in Harper's: the carte de visite of
Peter, the slave with a scourged back.
These biographies tell of the possibility of
personal redemption and the evolution of
an image. Read an excerpt or buy from
Amazon, Kobo, and Weightless Books.

Working Title 1.7: Ambrosia

A young woman living alone sees a mysterious
older woman roaming the woods outside her
house. As they strike up an unlikely friendship,
the narrator finds herself questioning what
she knows about love, friendship, and family.
Read an excerpt or purchase on Weightless,
Amazon, or Kobo.


Working Title 1.6: Just Another Jihadi Jane

radicalization of two young girls growing
up in a working-class Muslim neighborhood
in the UK. Ameena and Jamilla become
followers of a Jihadi matron deeply 
involved in the  Syrian war—but slowly
discover that their new reality is far different
from what they imagined. Read an excerpt 
or purchase on WeightlessAmazon, or Kobo.

Working Title 1.5: Strange Mercies

Pete Duval evokes a world of staggering heat
and blinding midday light, a world of stray
dogs and curlews. It is into this world that
Mayhew arrives, a cameraman for a Catholic
news network as much fleeing the desiccation
of his marriage as pursuing the story of a
young woman who may or may not bemarked
by stigmata. Read an excerpt or purchase on
Weightless, Amazon or Kobo.

Working Title 1.4: Emergency Exit

"Emergency Exit" unfolds in the disjointed
chronology of the perpetually jet-lagged,
skipping over months as easily as airplanes
cross time zones. In the slight surreality of
this enclosed world, Carissa Halston's
stewardesses reveal themselves as capable
of rage, apathy, humor, compassion,
efficiency. . . even friendship. Read an excerpt
or purchase on Weightless, Amazon or Kobo.

Working Title 1.3: Tomorrow We Never Did Talk About It

Eduardo Halfon's story follows the departure
of a well-off industrialist Jewish family from
Guatemala in the early 1980s. The events are
seen from the point of view of the naive,
inquisitive ten-year-old son. In Anne McLean's
vivid translation, the wrenching upheaval of
the family's departure emerges as a microcosm
of a country's descent into hell. Read an excerpt
or buy on WeightlessAmazon or Kobo.

Working Title 1.2: Much Ado About Everything:
Oration on the Dignity of the Novelist

 Gary Amdahl's full-throated defense of the
 novel as a means by which we might second-
 handedly engage not only "nothing that is not
 there but also the nothing that is." Amdahl's
 energetic style, his restless interrogation of
 criticism today, and his willingness to break,
 burn, blow, and make language his own,
 create an affirmation of literature in the 21st
 century. Read an excerpt or purchase on
 Weightless, Amazon or Kobo.

Working Title 1.1: The Bombay Liaison (is Grateful)

  In three interlocking stories, Dinika Amaral
  explores the fantasy and frustrations of
  post-colonial India. Weaving together the
  experiences of western visitors, the bustle
  of a contemporary Bombay marketplace,
  and figures from sacred Hindu texts, Amaral
  offers a mercurial, dreamlike vision of
  Bombay in the 21st century: ancient, global,
  chaotic, dazzling. Read an excerpt or purchase
  on Weightless, Amazon or Kobo.