Tiny Clubs

Geoff Wyss


    Sam Padamsee hasn't been to India since his parents were dragging him there as a kid—he grew up in America and has no real interest in India as the land of his “heritage.”  But when his charity work as an ophthalmologist takes him to the subcontinent to remove cataracts, he must deal not only with the place itself—Mumbai’s mix of primitive and postmodern—but also with his basic ideas about himself. 



ISBN:  978-1-931982-82-5 Trade paper, $15.95                     Sale $8.00


SBN:  978-1-931982-81-8 Library binding, $26.00                 Sale $13.00


262 pages

  About the Author: 

A native of Peoria, Illinois, Geoff Wyss has lived for the last fifteen years in New Orleans, where he teaches high school.  He attended Truman State University and Kansas State University, and has received NEH fellowships to study at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania.  His short stories have appeared in The Chariton Review, Seattle Review, Mid-American Review, Northwest Review, and Image, among others.  His story “Kids Make Their Own Houses” was included in the 2006 New Stories from the SouthTiny Clubs is his first novel.


 Excerpt From the Book:

There was nothing between their eyes and the sun. Airplane glass, yes, and ninety-three million miles of space, but the quotidian arc of modern travel had lifted them past the spires, spans, and earthworks, the effluent smog and smaze, into a sort of direct relation with the great orb. A single peaked ding rang out. Stewardesses struggled beneath great baskets of fruit in heaping globes and cones. Up here, dawn was not the rising of a lone and stately disc, but a spilled flush firing the world’s universal curve, the yolk broken and spreading. A French child hiccupped patiently. The cabin took on a golden dust of goodness and truth. The sunrise in its progress poised on earth’s rim, a celestial juice or ether, then overswelled its blue container.

The ophthalmologists roused themselves or selected a navel orange or sighed into the navy blue polyblend of their fluffless Gulf Air pillows, moisture collecting in the corners of their mouths. Two were drunk on in-flight Scotch poured from tiny bottles, diminutive fairy vials hoarded from the Frankfurt leg, and lowered their blinds against the rude light. Another looked then looked away, ashamed she could not summon the proper reverence. One promised to come to a decision concerning God. Yet another bent to the actuarial task of reconciling his atlas to the projection screen that showed the momentary orientation of their plane toward Mecca, inscribing segments of their journey with a pen and plastic straightedge. Three more slumbered into a precarious architecture of blue bedclothes, music tracks looping in their headphones. What sandy oasis had produced these remarkable stewardesses? What eastern reveries occupied them as they steadied their tufted hats and descending caravansary veils and held out their egg-brown hands for trash at the address system’s ding and mumbled Arabic? And how could it be, when the ophthalmologists switched planes in Bahrain, that one entire gender was swathed in black, the other capped with red-checked towels the color of a childhood picnic? What were the history and significance of that? Two English girls in cutoff Levis shared trail mix from a Ziploc under the watchful mustache of a soldier with his finger on the trigger of a matte-black Kalashnakov. Where were they? Lodged deep in what contemporary noplace? And what time was it, really? The ophthalmologists performed subtraction on their watch faces, pondering the meaningless numbers, and milled tipsily or grumpily or bemusedly past the ironbound doors of the Captain’s Club. Outside it was dark again, which made no sense. We’re going where, now, Bombay? Laughing at the impossibility of this. There was no such place as Bombay, or if there was, they couldn’t be going there, or if they were, they were brave for daring to and were entitled to a moment of laughter and self-awe, standing jet-lagged in a timeless airport garrisoned by men with deadly facial hair. Then their seat-backs were pressing them urgently into the sky, again, and the other passengers had turned thin and dark and sucked filterless cigarettes despite the exasperated proscriptions of the stewardesses. The cabin felt small and ill-lit and irreversible. Everything from this point forward suffered from the blur of things held too close to be seen clearly. Beneath them, searching upwards through the dark, were the midnight lights of India.