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The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories (West Word Fiction)

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The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories (West Word Fiction) Cover

ISBN13: 9780874177633
ISBN10: 0874177634
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Review:

"In the exemplary title story of Brady's third collection of closely observed San Fran-centric stories (following Curled in the Bed of Love), a relationship both playful and tense is revealed subtly by everyday stresses to be a charged power struggle between privileged equestrian college dropout Annie and Clay, the stable manager. Whether carried away by their horses or their hearts, Brady's characters fixate on the unpredictable, 'teetering between knowing what was ahead and refusing to know.' Buffeted by outside forces (illnesses, busted pipes, financial straits and death), Brady's characters often waver and fall: in 'The Dazzling World,' a woman who lost her last boyfriend to suicide can't make sense of her current relationship; 'Slender Little Thing' follows a teenage mom, who struggles by day with the rich children she nannies and by night with her own daughter; a businessman leaves his family to work in a church-run homeless shelter in 'Those Who Walk During the Day.' Excepting the self-involved protagonist of 'Wicked Stepmother,' Brady's leads are likable and idiosyncratic, and her insight into their unstable lives will keep readers swaying between a sense of comfort and loss." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Wendy Robards, April 8, 2009 (view all comments by Wendy Robards)
Catherine Brady’s latest collection of stories explore the various ways individuals respond to the unexpected events in their lives - will they seize up? Turn cold inside? Face things head on? Will they get back up after a fall, or give in to it? By exploring the ordinary lives of her characters, Brady reveals the extraordinary turns of fate and the gradual insight which swells inside us all when life does not go as expected.

In Scissors, Paper, Rock Natalie, an aging photojournalist, resists conforming to the changes in her profession and her behavior is accommodated at work. This irritates a co-worker, Liz, until a seemingly minor incident illuminates a deeper issue and forces Liz to examine her own values and sensitivities in the light of another person’s crisis.

One of my favorite stories of the collection - Much Have I Traveled - involves Nina, married twelve years to her college professor, who examines the base on which her marriage turns during a weekend visit with friends. Nina and Carter’s marriage reveals itself gradually not only to Nina, but to the reader as well. When Brady describes a pond clotted with algae, it becomes a metaphor for the evolution of Nina and Carter’s relationship which has begun to shift under the shadow of Carter’s newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis.

In all of Brady’s stunning and beautifully wrought stories, there is a shift or change either inside the protagonist or within the primary relationship - boyfriend/girlfriend, daughter/father, husband/wife. The internal struggles of the characters are often paralleled with external events or catalysts. In Seven Remedies, a middle-aged woman finds herself juggling work, major house repairs, and rebellious children - but it is her struggle to communicate with her Mexican housekeeper which grants her the most insight into her relationships and what her life is all about.

Brady creates memorable and complex characters whose inner lives are rich with doubt, fear, faith, and conflict. The characters encounter such things as infidelity, violence, medical decline, issues of aging and single parenthood. A simple story becomes an intriguing look at deeper issues through Brady’s careful and wise prose. I often found myself re-reading certain passages, teasing through them just to listen to the perfect rhythm and finely tuned nuance.

Short story collections like The Mechanics of Falling are rare - the ideal blend of excellent writing and good story telling, giving the reader a wealth of detail about the characters while leaving room for interpretation of what will happen next. A good short story makes the reader think while pulling them deeper into the lives of the characters. Catherine Brady has written eleven outstanding stories which compliment each other perfectly.

Highly recommended.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780874177633
Author:
Brady, Catherine
Publisher:
University of Nevada Press
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Short stories
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
West Word Fiction
Publication Date:
20090231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
248
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories (West Word Fiction) Used Hardcover
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Product details 248 pages University of Nevada Press - English 9780874177633 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In the exemplary title story of Brady's third collection of closely observed San Fran-centric stories (following Curled in the Bed of Love), a relationship both playful and tense is revealed subtly by everyday stresses to be a charged power struggle between privileged equestrian college dropout Annie and Clay, the stable manager. Whether carried away by their horses or their hearts, Brady's characters fixate on the unpredictable, 'teetering between knowing what was ahead and refusing to know.' Buffeted by outside forces (illnesses, busted pipes, financial straits and death), Brady's characters often waver and fall: in 'The Dazzling World,' a woman who lost her last boyfriend to suicide can't make sense of her current relationship; 'Slender Little Thing' follows a teenage mom, who struggles by day with the rich children she nannies and by night with her own daughter; a businessman leaves his family to work in a church-run homeless shelter in 'Those Who Walk During the Day.' Excepting the self-involved protagonist of 'Wicked Stepmother,' Brady's leads are likable and idiosyncratic, and her insight into their unstable lives will keep readers swaying between a sense of comfort and loss." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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