Cities I've Never Lived In
“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.”