We are excited to announce the publication of our most recent Ploughshares Solo, “The Brooks Brothers Guru” by Alix Ohlin! In our Ploughshares Solos series we publish longer stories and essays first in an affordable, digital format, and then collect them in our annual Ploughshares Solos Omnibus Series. For more information and some great reading material, check out our previously published Solos, or the Ploughshares Solos Omnibus Volume 2.
About “The Brooks Brothers Guru”
Amanda is living alone in the house where her mother, now dead of cancer, once grew up, when a Facebook friend request puts her back in touch with a cousin, John. After months of seeing his life flicker across her screen, she learns he has moved to a community led by a mysterious Jason Wilson. John refers to him as “one of the greatest thinkers of our time,” but his friends are worried that Wilson may in fact be a cult leader. Pressed by John’s ex-girlfriend, Amanda visits the community. Immersing herself in their life of culture and service, and attracting the notice of the community leader, Amanda will have to confront her unresolved grief, and decide whether or not she belongs.
The “Brooks Brothers Guru” is available on Pshares.org for $1.99.
Here’s an expert from the Solo:
In the parlor she finds five clean-cut, well-dressed men of varying ages holding cocktails; they smile at her genially. John, who has been leaning over the record player, lets the needle drop on some classical music and then joins her, introducing her to the crowd.
“Everyone, this is Amanda.” He rattles off names in quick succession; there’s a Luke and a Michael and she loses the rest. As he presses a drink into her hand, everyone comes over to say hello and ask, solicitously, how her trip has been. She feels gently fussed over, as if by grandparents.
“And this,” John says, “is Jason Wilson.”
One of the great thinkers of our time is a slight man in a blue shirt, with dark brown hair and happy-looking brown eyes. “We’re delighted you’re here. You found us okay?” he asks, as if he’d sent directions. She says yes. Wilson is also wearing khakis, and bucks, less guru than Brooks Brothers. The Brooks Brothers guru. She laughs a little, to herself, and Wilson laughs too, as if he understands.
“Come to dinner,” he says, touching her elbow softly as he guides her. He is a gentleman.
About the Author
Alix Ohlin is the author of four books, most recently Inside, a novel, and Signs and Wonders, a collection of stories. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories and on public radio’s Selected Shorts program, and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize. A native of Montreal, she lives in Easton, PA and teaches at Lafayette College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program.