From the work in progress.
A burst of laughter, high and clear as the song of a nightingale, tumbled in through the window. Chekhonte pushed open the sash and leaned out, pen in hand, to find the source. Directly below him on the pavement stood a young woman in a white sunbonnet, holding with each of her hands the hand of a little girl. She laughed again, a strong laugh without a hint of self-consciousness, and then she called out to someone Chekhonte could not see. She spoke English, too rapidly for him to understand a word. The little girls were blond, with curls and pink bows and sailor dresses and Chekhonte assumed they were Americans. The maitre d’hôtel had mentioned that there were several American families staying there for the season. The young woman laughed and Chekhonte felt a deep aching loneliness throb behind his heart and for a full two minutes he was in love with the American woman and he had a powerful urge to lay aside his writing and fling himself down four flights of stairs and into the street where he would declare his passionate devotion to her in broken English.I'm currently working on the central story to this collection, a novella-length thing called "Antosha in Prague" (surprise). I've somehow convinced myself that the best formal structure for this particular story is a series of letters written by the Antosha character to a variety of people. There will be something like fifty letters, I think. I've never done this particular trick, so the high degree of difficulty is quite pleasing. The story will end with a contrasting section, the diary of a young Czech law student. It will all be really cool or really dumb; that's the only way to fly, kids. The epistolary format is exhausting, by the way. I don't recommend it to anyone. It is, however, an excellent framework for nested stories. Spoilers, sorry.