Fiction

Many of Rebecca’s stories involve issues of the ability to speak or communicate, as well as the power and challenge of storytelling—especially about difficult or taboo subjects.

Rebecca’s novel excerpt is now published in The Experiment Cannot Be Bound, an art book published by Unbound Editions, edited by Peter Campion.

The Experiment Will Not Be Bound Anthology featuring Rebecca Givens Rolland
Available in Paperback format

The Experiment Will Not Be Bound

Featuring more than 70 pathbreaking authors, The Experiment Will Not Be Bound highlights celebrated and new voices that, as editor Peter Campion says, share “a particular combination of openness and intention, curiosity and assertion.” Indeed, the authors included in this anthology “venture out onto the skinny branches of their own sensibilities,” in Campion’s words.

This book, though, is not just an anthology of some inspired experimental writing but an experimental anthology in form. Being unbound — physically and philosophically — allows the pieces included here to live in any order, to find the fit that works best for any reader, to be read randomly, sequentially, or thematically. With a foreword and extraordinary book photography by Catherine Gass, The Experiment Will Not Be Bound is, to a degree, an homage to William H. Gass and his bold, experimental vision for his masterpiece, The Tunnel.

Excerpt – Maryam

It’s early morning at Watergate Bay, and high tide, judging by how little space we have next to the cliffs. The nine-hundred-ninety-eight other women have set up their tents as close to the rocks as they can. They’ve woven their hair into tight buns at the nape of their necks, and they’re doing a sort of whimsical gymnastics, circling their arms and swinging them up and back. Frau Elena stands in the center like an orchestra conductor, demanding that each woman sing her scales. She’s dividing them all into soprano and alto, then further subdividing them based on their native languages. I’m the only one who’s gone out of the circle and have started washing my feet in the ice-cold water. I’ve claimed it’s good for my circulation, that my feet ache from the journey. I’ve told them I’m not used to the food here, that I miss fish.

And Frau Elena, tight-lipped and sharp-voiced, nodded and said that was all right.

Another novel excerpt is available from Brandeis University Press, in the Lilith anthology Frankly Feminist.

Available in Paperback format

Frankly Feminist

A groundbreaking Jewish feminist short story collection.

Short story collections focusing on Jewish writers have—no surprise—typically given women authors short shrift. This new volume represents the best Jewish feminist fiction published in Lilith Magazine, and does what no other collection has done before in its geographic scope, its inclusion of twenty-first-century stories, and its Jewish feminist focus.

This collection showcases a wide range of stories offering variegated cultures and contexts and points of view: Persian Jews; a Biblical matriarch; an Ethiopian mother in modern Israel; suburban American teens; Eastern European academics; a sexual questioner; a Jew by choice; a new immigrant escaping her Lower East Side sweatshop; a Black Jewish marcher for justice; in Vichy France, a toddler’s mother hiding out; and more.

Organized by theme, the stories in this book emphasize a breadth of content, and our hope is that in reading you’ll appreciate the liveliness of the burgeoning self-awareness brought to life in each tale, and the occasional funny, call-your-friend-and-tell-her-about-it moment. Skip around, encounter an author whose other work you may know, be enticed by a title, or an opening line. We hope you’ll find both pleasure and enlightenment—and sometimes revelation—within these pages.

Excerpt – The Fronds of Knives

Manon Peren swallowed hard. The taste of stale bread filled her mouth, an ache that reminded her of flowers and the smell of baking bread in a Montmartre bakery in the spring. Fifteen years old, she dreamed of foamy milk and pastries, with neither to enjoy. Over the scent of bougainvillea from the open window, the air reeked of burnt toast from her attempts to make a birthday cake by melting preserved cheese over bits of bread. Back in Paris, she’d have set the elaborate triple burners on high. But this apartment—tucked away beside the Promenade des Anglais, near the Cours Saleya in the old town—only had a single burner, and no salt or olives, or anything for spice. Reeking of strangers and homesickness, the place felt like a foreign landscape, constructed from someone else’s clothes, dusty furniture, and well-used pots and pans.

Short Stories

Discover Rebecca’s short stories by following the links to read them online.

The Fronds Of Knives

In Lilith Magazine, tells the story of a Jewish girl in Nice, France, during the Second World War who took a great risk to pose for the artist Henry Matisse.

Face Value

In Jerry Jazz Musician, about a brilliant musician who may also be mentally ill.

Revealing the Face

In Tampa Review, about a young girl who does not speak at all.

To the Man with the Synthesized Voice

In Hobart, written from the perspective of a speech-language pathologist.

Lily, from the Society of Absolute Music

In Vol 1. Brooklyn, about a group of female musicians who gather in 1900 at the Paris World Fair.

The Women of Absolute Music Build Their Society

In Litro Magazine, about female musicians developing a utopian society.

Snowy Sky

In Literary Mama, about a traumatic childbirth experience.

Swimmer

In Michigan Quarterly Review, written from the perspective of a man diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS.

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