Introducing ‘Inner Passage’ by Marlene Lee

It is an honour to announce that the next publication from EIF will be Inner Passage, a stunning collection of short stories from established author Marlene Lee. The book is due to be published on 28 October 2023.

About the book

This collection introduces the reader to an array of characters from the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, California, and the South whose lives lead them toward truths they ignore, resist, and explore — sometimes all at the same time.

Often more is revealed about the characters by the things they don’t say than by the things they do. Many are painfully naïve as to their own nature.

Lee’s clean, unembellished and razor-sharp prose provides the perfect vehicle for this astutely observed and often wryly humorous examination of human nature, and the choices people make within the inner passages of their own minds.

Here is what author Jocelyn Cullity has to say about it:

“Marlene Lee’s collection Inner Passage takes readers on a journey from Sacramento to Missoula to New York where we meet characters in a motel or hotel, a diner, a motor home, a truck stop. Written in prose as windswept clean as the roads her characters travel, these are dogged, savvy people you know and you don’t know; and in the end we have a loving portrait of classic America at its best. The verve found in each of these stories is the ultimate, satisfying throughline.”

Barbara Harris Leonhard, editor of MasticadoresUSA, has this to say:

“Each story provides a passage into the shadows of human existence, where the characters navigate love, loss, grief, fear, abandonment, anxiety, physical disabilities, misunderstandings, and longings. The reader can’t help but be swept up in the interpersonal conflicts and existential dilemmas. If you cross the dark threshold into these stories, be sure to bring a flashlight.”

About the Author

When she’s not reading, playing the piano, or talking to other writers, Marlene Lee holds down a table at the Lakota Coffee House in Columbia, Missouri, confronting blank pages during business hours and postponing the inevitable with another cup of coffee. Before writing full-time, she worked as a court reporter, carting her shorthand machine from place to place (eventual settings for her fiction) in a moveable feast: Brookings, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Chico, California; San Francisco; and New York City.

Before court reporting, she taught high school, children’s special education, Freshman and Sophomore college English, and vocational school classes in stenotype. Always and in-between, she was writing short stories and novels, accumulating publishable manuscripts before being actually published in 2013. (Lee’s previous fiction titles: The Absent WomanRebecca’s Road, Scoville, Limestone Wall, No Certain Home, published by Holland House Books.) Her author page can be found at

Updates to follow

I am excited to be bringing this accomplished collection to press. As a taster of what is to come, I will be presenting audio snippets from the book, read by the author, on this blog. Stay tuned for further updates!


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