The Fictional World of Alan Bray

The Puppet’s Tattered Clothes

Bartleby Snopes will release my novella “The Puppet’s Tattered Clothes” on August 26th. It’s available for pre-order now at bartleby snopes 

“Puppet’ has been in the works for a number of years. It’s about a young man living in Chicago, struggling with the past and his future.


Puppet Excerpt

Bartleby Snopes will be publishing my novella The Puppet’s Tattered Clothes in August. They’ve recently published an excerpt. Here’s a link.



Here’s a link to a new story published by Cigale Literary.


New Story Published

Cigale Literary has agreed to publish my short story Embrace. Thank you Cigale.

Embrace has been around a while. Some years ago, I saw an exhibition of photographer Josef Sudek’s work with my son at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I was entranced. Embrace is based on several of his photographs and on Sudek himself—in a completely fictional way. It was interesting to build a story around visual images. I hope anyone who reads it enjoys it.

The story will be published June 30th; I will provide a link at that time.

Hour of Parade Wins IndieReader Discovery Award

Happy to say that my novel, The Hour of Parade, has won the 2014 IndieReader Discovery Award for Best Literary Fiction. Thanks to the judges.

Here’s the  link.

Black Denim Lit

My story Merrows is part of the May edition of Black Denim Lit. Black Denim Lit is available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book. If you read Merrows and are so inclined, please review it on the Amazon page. This well help us all, including Black Denim, which is a fine publication. Just go to Amazon and search for Black Denim Lit. Thanks.


Merrows is live at My thanks to Christopher Garry.

Newer News

I’m happy to announce my short story Merrows will be published by Black Denim Lit in early May.

Merrows is about being between fatherhood and one’s own father. 


I’m delighted to announce that Bartleby Snopes Press will be publishing my novella “The Puppet’s Tattered Clothes.” It will be offered as an e-book on Amazon and a print version, release date, mid-July. “Puppet” is the story of a young man living in Chicago who wants to escape a painful past.

I’ll offer updates as they develop.


Thank you for your interest.


NEWS: I am happy to announce that my story The Temporary Assistant Postmaster has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

The Bar in Three Sections

Published in Ink & Coda January 2014

A story about a jazz musician struggling with romance. Autobiographical? Naw.

A Variation in Temperature

Published in TQRStories 2009

This was the first story I had published (many thanks to Steve Hansen). It’s about an older man, a widower, who finds and loses a new housekeeper, a mysterious person who catches his imagination and his loneliness.

Ariadne After Hours

Published Gone Lawn Journal #5  2011

Thanks to Owen Kaelin on this one. Ariadne is loosely based on some experiences I had as a musician. I suppose here, I was really trying to show particular places—the restaurant, the street, the labyrinthine apartment. Yes, it’s supposed to be mysterious.

The Replica City

Published Per Contra Fall 2012

I was in Warsaw in 2007 and took several trains from the central station. Warsaw is an amazing place, re-inventing itself but so old and so haunted by memory. Thanks to Miriam Kotzin on this one. Here’s what Kirsten McIlvenna very kindly had to say about it:

Per Contra‘s fall issue offers a varied sampling of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art.

My favorite piece of fiction comes from Al Bray: “The Replica City.” An old man visits Warsaw, where he was born. At the train station, he imagines he sees his parents, though he doesn’t remember what they look like—he was separated from them as a child and raised in England. He suspects that they were both killed by the Nazis. “Since childhood, he’d had a particular image: the two of them, carrying battered suitcases which they wouldn’t need, his father weak and hollow-cheeked from hunger, his mother a slim, defiant wraith. He’d struggled without success to replace it with the image on the old postcard from the train station.” The whole story takes place in Warsaw as he struggles to connect with his past: “When something precious is taken from you, you want it back, one way or the other.”

-Kirsten McIlvenna New Pages

Close Reading

Published New Citron Review Fall 2012

This one surprised me. The story, already very short, was longer, but the editors asked me to cut-off the last third, thereby punctuating it in a different way. I had to think about it but decided I liked their concept. It’s a very short piece on looking through one’s window. Thanks to Heather Luby.

The Temporary Assistant Postmaster

Published 10,000 Tons of Black Ink October 2013

A personal favorite. Based loosely on our local postoffice which really does date back to the 1700s. Like many of my stories, this one is about fathers and sons, or sons searching for fathers. Here’s what was kindly said. Thank you.

Notes from Alexander Slagg, Senior Associate Editor

Reading “The Temporary Assistant Postmaster” is like watching a fireworks display while wearing earplugs. The dramatic energy is subdued, but it is well-synchronized and bursting, at times, with rich emotional color. The subtlety of the author’s hand in providing small details, such as the specific and very apt contents of the protagonist’s lunch, and then ushering the plot forward and offering a nuanced ending, shows the care that went into calibrating the mechanics of this piece.

What I enjoyed about this story is that throughout the arc of that plot, the reader is not spoon-fed how to read the action. The author leaves some narrative space around each scene, allowing the reader the opportunity to infer some of the emotional subtleties—to participate in the telling of this story. For me, that is the most successful facet of this piece. The writing is mature and interested me enough to want to continue reading it to the end, and it gave me space to interact with this piece and bring my own narrative vision to the process. That quality makes this a successful piece of art.


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