Tin House the magazine to be publishing an excerpt from a book that Tin House Books is publishing this month? That is the case with "Bright Before Us" by Katie Arnold-Ratliff. Not her fault, of course. Does Tin House often do this?
In any event, I didn't notice the disclaimer on the first page that this was an excerpt, so I found the piece disappointing as a story. As a taste of a novel, though, it's fine.
The narrator, Mr. Mason, has been on a field trip with his very young students, and apparently the class came across a body on the beach. So now that they're all back in school, the principal and parents are rightly concerned--especially because Mason was seen sobbing. So many of the parents are attending class this first day back. Meanwhile, at home, Mason's wife is getting a sonogram, which is a big deal because she has a history of miscarriages. Back at school, the police call Mason with some questions about the "timeline" of the incident at the beach, and two juicy tidbits are revealed: Mason saw the woman jump off the bridge and the woman was his ex-wife. Needless to say the police have some more questions for Mason . . .
So. Not a short story, in my opinion (and it's not claiming to be one, either, I hasten to add). An intriguing sample of a novel, though.