A Second Helping from Toni Mirosevich's Table

| 1/9/2008 10:03:30 AM

I first encountered Toni Mirosevich’s elegant prose in the Spring 2007 issue of food and culture journal Gastronomica. “The Prize Inside,” a dreamlike account of dinnertime rituals in her Croatian-American fishing family, was so gripping we rushed to reprint it in our September-October 2007 issue.

That essay and 24 others are now collected in Pink Harvest, Mirosevich’s first book of creative nonfiction, published this past November by Mid-List Press. Having previously published a few volumes of poetry and prose, Mirosevich demonstrates no less linguistic prowess in her nonfiction foray. Her words, above all, seem impeccably timed. She beckons great surges of language with sequences of commas, and then tempers her prose with judicious breaks, periods, and alternations of sentence length and structure.

Of course, rhapsodizing about her writing, I don’t mean to neglect the content; Mirosevich’s personal narratives are touching, often funny, and sharply recounted. In “Tilting” a suitor interrupts a widow’s gardening. Mirosevich writes:

There was a rustling, leaves or the scrape of grapevines on the trellis. He cleared his throat. “I don’t mean to change the subject but will you marry me?”

The breeze died down, and with the question, as if slapped, she revived, her sense of smell suddenly keen, as if she could smell the man who had inhabited the suit jacket before Dragovich, could remember the way her husband’s scent laid on the pillow in the mornings, a mix of cigar and fish and the sea.

She stopped, weighing the proposition. “What you got?” she asked.

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