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And Yet They Were Happy (Leaplit)

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And Yet They Were Happy (Leaplit) Cover

ISBN13: 9781935248187
ISBN10: 1935248189
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Brilliant miniatures. . . . Like the fables of Calvino, Millhauser, or W.S. Merwin. . . . Beautifully blends short story and prose poem. . . . Mermaids, subways, floods, cucumbers, magicians. . . .The book is a gallery of marvels. Phillips guides us through the 'Hall of Nostalgia For Things We Have Never Seen,' 'the factory where the virgins are made,' and 'the Anne Frank School for Expectant Mothers.' A depressed Noah admits he 'didn't get them all,' a wife guesses which of two identical men is her husband, a regime orders citizens to grow raspberries on windowsills. [Helen Phillips'] quietly elegant sentences are as clear as spring water, haunting as our own childhood memories."—Michael Dirda

"A deeply interesting mind is at work in these wry, lyrical stories. Phillips exploits the duality of our nature to create a timeless and most engaging collection."—Amy Hempel

"Haunted and lyrical and edible all at once."—Rivka Galchen

A young couple sets out to build a life together in an unstable world haunted by monsters, plagued by disasters, full of longing—but also one of transformation, wonder, and delight, peopled by the likes of Noah, Bob Dylan, the Virgin Mary, and Anne Frank. Hovering between reality and fantasy, whimsy and darkness, these linked fables describe a universe both surreal and familiar.

Helen Phillips received a 2009 Rona Jaffe Writer's Award, 2009 Meridian Editors' Prize, and 2008 Italo Calvino Fabulist Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in many literary journals and two anthologies. She holds degrees from Yale University and Brooklyn College, and teaches creative writing at Brooklyn College.

Review:

"Milestones — emotional, familial, biblical — feature heavily in Phillips's imaginative debut. The stories are organized around themes — floods, fights, punishments, 'the Helens' — and embark on marvelous flights of character and metaphor: in 'flood #2' as the waters are rising, a despairing Noah walks into a bar, muttering, 'I didn't get them all,' while in 'fight #2,' a battling couple repeatedly take on bizarre transformations, he, for instance, into a rainstorm and she into a fire. The narrator of 'fight #5' invites a statue of the Virgin Mary to a cup of tea, only to feel sharp disappointment at Mary's remarks regarding the narrator's emotional needs. The 'far-flung family' episodes consist of an anecdote about ancestors building a covered wagon and heading west, and one about the king's daughter who has married 'the clever yet dirty craftsman.' 'The envies' concerns the jealousy of two sisters of 'The girls in Maxfield Parish paintings,' while 'mistake #5' compels the narrator to find Santa, only to be rebuffed by the bitter old man. Mothers, weddings, and monsters are all treated with irreverence in this cunning work that winks at reality as it carves out its niche deep in fable territory. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Synopsis:

A young couple comes of age in a surreal world of apocalypse, delight, longing, and tenderness.

About the Author

Helen Phillips received a 2009 Rona Jaffe Writers Award, the 2009 Meridian Editors Prize, and the 2008 Italo Calvino Fabulist Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in Mississippi Review and Salt Hill Journal, among others, and in the anthologies American Fiction: The Best Previously Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Authors and The Hotel St. George Infinitely Expanding Library of New Fabulist Fiction. Helen is a graduate of Yale and Brooklyn Colleges MFA programs. She teaches creative writing at Brooklyn College.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Suzanne Kamata, February 4, 2012 (view all comments by Suzanne Kamata)
When I was younger, reading experimental fiction made me feel intellectually superior and artistic. Now that I've reached middle age, however, I want to connect with the stories that I read. I want more than flashy technique.

I'm happy to report that Helen Phillip's novel-in-fable-like vignettes is odd and ambitious, but highly accessible. I can tell that she had fun writing these two page stories or fables or vignettes or whatever you want to call them. I, too, delighted in her flights of fancy, her surreal imaginings and whimsical juxtapositions.

Here are a few favorite random sentences:

"The men who killed unicorns were no different than us."

"They order us to grow raspberries on our windowsills."

"Your heart is a fawn, tripping over the underbrush as it tries to escape."

"...a house as lovely as a dessert."

"Glancing outside during the tea party, I notice dragons in the yard."

There are some themes and motifs that appear throughout and that hold these tales loosely together -Noah, cucumbers, unicorns, Bob Dylan, dresses. And there is a woman named Helen Phillips.

This is an unusual novel, to be sure, but it all comes together in the end.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781935248187
Author:
Phillips, Helen
Publisher:
Leapfrog Press
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
LeapLit
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
180
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Short Stories

And Yet They Were Happy (Leaplit) New Trade Paper
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$14.95 In Stock
Product details 180 pages Leapfrog Press - English 9781935248187 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Milestones — emotional, familial, biblical — feature heavily in Phillips's imaginative debut. The stories are organized around themes — floods, fights, punishments, 'the Helens' — and embark on marvelous flights of character and metaphor: in 'flood #2' as the waters are rising, a despairing Noah walks into a bar, muttering, 'I didn't get them all,' while in 'fight #2,' a battling couple repeatedly take on bizarre transformations, he, for instance, into a rainstorm and she into a fire. The narrator of 'fight #5' invites a statue of the Virgin Mary to a cup of tea, only to feel sharp disappointment at Mary's remarks regarding the narrator's emotional needs. The 'far-flung family' episodes consist of an anecdote about ancestors building a covered wagon and heading west, and one about the king's daughter who has married 'the clever yet dirty craftsman.' 'The envies' concerns the jealousy of two sisters of 'The girls in Maxfield Parish paintings,' while 'mistake #5' compels the narrator to find Santa, only to be rebuffed by the bitter old man. Mothers, weddings, and monsters are all treated with irreverence in this cunning work that winks at reality as it carves out its niche deep in fable territory. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Synopsis" by ,
A young couple comes of age in a surreal world of apocalypse, delight, longing, and tenderness.
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