July/Aug 2015 • Vol. XXXVII No. 4 FictionJuly 1, 2015 |

The Other Daughter

On the cruise, my sister and I eat Crab Imperial and play mini golf on AstroTurf and try our luck at roulette. We listen to the ching of slot machines and the sad echo of karaoke. We attend ice-carving demonstrations and a table tennis tournament. We clink plastic champagne glasses at dinner and smile like we're having the time of our lives. On the cruise, activities are "funtimes." There are seven bars. Every day brings a new buffet. It is clear the crew's ability to manage four thousand passengers hinges on keeping us full and sun-tired and drunk. On the cruise, we swim in a bright blue pool and watch movies in 3D. After the movies end, we take off our 3D glasses and leave the dark of the theater, surprised to find ourselves still at sea. We boarded the ship in Miami. We are going to Cozumel because our mother loved that part of Mexico, and we are going the way we are going because she loved cruise ships, too. She took two a year, always to Cozumel, always on the most monstrou

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Photo of Laura van den Berg

Born and raised in Florida, Laura van den Berg is the author of five works of fiction, including The Third Hotel, a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, which was one of Time Magazine’s 10 Best Fiction Books of 2020. She is the recent recipient of a Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction, and a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her next novel, Florida Diary, is forthcoming from FSG.

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