The work of Katrina fiction I have always wanted to read has arrived.
It's "Aftermath Lounge," a collection of short stories by Margaret McMullan.
The title, the cover, the tales, the characters, the emotions and McMullan's wonderful use of language will stay with me.
Best of all, McMullan's stories are about South Mississippi and she writes them in a way that made me think she has always lived on the Coast. They feel true to life.
I did my diligent Internet research and saw she is not a Coast native, although she is a Mississippian. She was born in Newton County.
Then I did even more research.
Author Rheta Grimsley Johnson, in her review of "Aftermath Lounge" for The Fourth Ward Cleaver, a monthly online magazine published in Bay St. Louis, said McMullan's late father bought a house on Scenic Drive in Pass Christian in 1992.
"Margaret would marry in the house, vacation every summer at the house, help with the renovation of the house and ask herself again and again, 'Why am I leaving?' " Johnson wrote in the April 1 post.
"Today, at age 55, she is excitedly planning her return. Her mother still lives in the pale yellow house, and soon Margaret and her husband, Pat O'Connor, will, too."
Then, while re-reading the book, my curiosity led me to even more online research.
KARE-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul interviewed McMullan on April 9 and the station posted on its website that she "saw the (Katrina) destruction firsthand. Her family's historic Gulf Coast home — her father's beloved southern jewel — was one of the houses in Pass Christian devastated by Katrina. Despite the chaos immediately following the storm, McMullan's family was among the first to rebuild."
McMullan is a novelist and an English professor and chair of the department at the University of Evansville in Indiana. She will be at Pass Christian Books for a signing April 24 at 6 p.m.
Her other novels include "In My Mother's House" and "How I Found the Strong: A Civil War Story," and she is the editor of a new nonfiction work, "Every Father's Daughter: Twenty-four Women Writers Remember Their Fathers."
As someone who has lived through both Camille and Katrina in Gulfport, I was hoping "Aftermath Lounge" might have stories about my city and Biloxi.
Maybe they are the places in other writers' works.
The Pass is the place in "Aftermath Lounge," and the stories will have appeal no matter where you live.