In his satisfying first story collection (after Letting Loose), Leland deals with the wonders of intimacy, portraying a broad range of relationships, from the engaged couple of "Casing the Promised Land," whose interactions are full of missed connections and lovely synchronicity, to the frank sex talks of the gay couple at the center of "Fellatio," without sacrificing unity of theme and approach. In the first-person stories the reader becomes the narrator's confidante, whereas third-person turns the same reader into a voyeur. The dreamlike "Swim," for instance, sensually blends images of a lake, a murder, and a father's brutality. In the best stories, details have a transparency that feels artless (yet requires great facility). The terrific "Peach Queen" is named after the train that a father and daughter ride the last night of its operation; "Memento Mori," on the other hand, in which two friends document their travels in journal and picture form, reveals a forced significance. Overall, this is a fine collection from a craftsman who occasionally achieves inspiration.
A short story entitled "Fellatio"? I'm there!
A tuba player surfs the web from a cyst on his hand. A town of spilled peaches fields its own game show. A mosquito fogger finds an unlikely friend. The stories in Mike Young's debut collection Look! Look! Feathers tap into the surreal and sad, the absurd and ragged dreams scratching at the edge of the American heart. Punks drive auctioned police cars, and necklaces of bluebird bones are sold from a roadside van. In these tales of the Pacific Northwest, Young finds magic burrowed under the moss of ordinary life.
"You want me to tell you what sets Maliszewski apart? The answer is probity. The answer also is decency. Here's another answer: modesty, tact, exactitude, pertinence, reverence, wit. All told, Maliszewski has all the graces, which is why I, in my old age, am renewed and schooled by him. Oh, and another thing: Paul Maliszewski takes no crap."—Gordon Lish
At a campground, a divorced father confronts a man he believes hurt his daughter. A devoted student traces a winding path through the snow, searching for the next most beautiful thing. Two brothers watch their father tinker lovingly with his homemade robots. In Paul Maliszewski’s debut story collection, men and women struggle to do right. They argue. They think. They think again. They have odd dreams. Often they fail at being good, and yet, on occasion, they realize moments of true kindness. In language that is at once simple and supple, plain-spoken and arresting, these twenty-eight stories describe complete lives in sharp detail, lives we may recognize as not unlike our own.
Paul Maliszewski has published essays in Harper's, Granta, and Bookforum, among other magazines. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, One Story, and BOMB and have been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. Fakers, a collection of essays, was published by The New Press in 2009. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and son.
From the bestselling author of Caucasia, riveting, unexpected stories about identity under the influence of appearances, attachments, and longing.
Each of these eight remarkable stories by Danzy Senna tightrope-walks tantalizingly, sometimes frighteningly, between defined states: life with and without mates and children, the familiar if constraining reference points provided by race, class, and gender. Tensions arise between a biracial couple when their son is admitted to the private school where they'd applied on a lark. A new mother hosts an old friend, still single, and discovers how each of them pities-and envies- the other. A young woman responds to an adoptee in search of her birth mother, knowing it is not she.