Cities I've Never Lived In
Graywolf Press
Sara Majka
“Four Hills”

“Four Hills” is from Sara Majka’s debut collection CITIES I’VE NEVER LIVED IN (Greywolf Press, 2016.) Majka’s stories have appeared in many literary journals, including , Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction, Longreads, and A Public Space.


Majka said this about the origin of her story: When I wrote this story I was trying to write a long piece (possibly a book) about a young Polish girl in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Somehow I wrote a very short story about waitressing in Greenpoint instead. I looked back at my drafts to try to understand how this happened. I think one day I went for a waitressing interview at a beautiful restaurant in Williamsburg that’s no longer there, but I went home and wrote about the experience and then later added to it.


I remember I pushed myself to write most of the story before I started the job (I did waitress there for almost a year before they closed), because I felt I wouldn’t be able to imagine a story once I started to work there. It’s part of a linked collection, so the narrator and voice were already there. Greenpoint was a lovely place to live and I miss it. I lost that apartment when my landlord sold the building. Prices had gotten so high it became impossible to live there, which is, of course, a problem in almost all of New York City.


Praise for the collection:


Kelly Link describes the book as “a collection that leaves you longing — as one longs to return to much loved, much missed homes and communities and cities — for places that you, the reader have never been. Prodigal with insight into why and how people love and leave, and love again. Humane, dazzling, and knowing.”


Salvatore Scibona, writes: “Like Alice Munro and Raymond Carver, Sara Majka writes stories of people on society’s ragged edge — in money trouble, work trouble, heart trouble–and does so with tremendous subtlety and a grave sophistication all her own. Every one of the spare sentences in this book is heavy with implication and insight. It’s impossible to read these stories too closely.”

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