Fiction. Characters in Wendell Mayo's collection, THE CUCUMBER KING OF KÉDAINIAI, are one of a kind. A Lithuanian mafia boss strives to achieve world domination with black market cucumbers. A starving Russian artist discovers he can profit by selling paint-by-numbers portraits of former General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev. Two spiders re-enact the Cold War years in the bathtub of an abandoned Soviet sanatorium. A woman is interrogated by former-KGB police about the whereabouts of an American she's never met. A man trades a bag of cold fried pike for clues about his Lithuanian ancestors. The concluding narrative, "The Universal Store," assembles all in a kind of marketplace of the heart, where the new realities of an Eastern Europe adapting to change since the fall of the Berlin Wall emerge. These stories by turn are not only dark, comical, surreal—but feel terribly true.
Wendell Mayo is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. He is recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Fulbright to Lithuania, and is author of four collections: THE CUCUMBER KING OF KÉDAINIAI, Centaur of the North (winner of the Aztlán Prize and finalist in the Associated Writing Programs Award Series in Short Fiction), B. Horror and Other Stories and a novel-in-stories, IN LITHUANIAN WOOD, which appears in Lithuanian translation as Vilko Valanda (English: Hour of the Wolf) with Mintis Press in Vilnius. Over one hundred of his short stories have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including Yale Review, Harvard Review, Manoa, Missouri Review, Prism International, Threepenny Review, Indiana Review, and Chicago Review. He teaches in the BFA/MFA programs at Bowling Green State University. Author City: BOWLING GREEN, OH USA