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Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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California Transit: Stories and a Novella

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California Transit: Stories and a Novella Cover

ISBN13: 9781932511475
ISBN10: 1932511474
Condition: Standard
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Awards

Winner of the 2006 Mary McCarthy Prize in Fiction

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"From the world that could not be saved, the storyteller salvages small, strange stuff and assembles it into a narrative of alarming beauty and mystery and sadness." — from the introduction by Carole Maso

Southern California: land of dislocation and assimilation, a place Diane Lefer knows well. In California Transit, she uses conversational prose and macabre wit to zero-in on a Mexican woman detained indefinitely by immigration officials, isolating her from her American family; a zoo employee considering what to do with a euthanized antelope's head; and, in the title novella, a lonely woman, riding buses all day, who cannot avert the violence building within her.

This collection explores the difference between justice and law through a lens unfiltered by moralistic or didactic intention. Like a surveillance camera meant to record crime, not stop it, Lefer presents a world gone wrong, not because of people's hatred for one another but because of their impossible, unfulfilled yearning to connect.

Review:

"Following up on two earlier story collections (The Circles I Move In and Very Much Like Desire) and a novel (Radiant Hunger), Lefer offers a sunshine noir's-worth of uneasy left coast tales. 'At the Site Where Vision Is Most Perfect' documents what happens when a longtime Van Nuys resident is detained by immigration officials and becomes a victim of, and witness to, brutish acts of racism committed in the name of homeland security; that she is a Mexican woman named Clifford Pearlstein is just one of the ironic details Lefer uses to heighten the contradictions. A zoo worker's morbidly compelling description of transporting an antelope head drives 'Alas, Falada!' while the narrator of 'Angle and Grip,' who is reeling from a miscarriage and from the death of her husband in a freak accident, signs on to a neighbor's plan to manufacture and sell 'love dolls': 'Apparently I said something about men being dolls, all manufactured in the same fucked up factory and damaged beyond repair.' Lefer's staccato prose adds urgency to her suburban grotesques, giving a disquieting look at everyday lives that make little progress in transit." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Lefer smacks readers hard over the head with her litany of important, but conventional and overused, themes, and her experimental prose...is distracting. Entirely ordinary, despite clearly painstaking attempts not to be." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

Winner of the 2005 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, selected by Carole Maso.

Synopsis:

"From the world that could not be saved, the storyteller salvages small, strange stuff and assembles it into a narrative of alarming beauty and mystery and sadness."-from the introduction by Carole Maso

Southern California: land of dislocation and assimilation, a place Diane Lefer knows well. InCalifornia Transit,she uses conversational prose and macabre wit to zero-in on a Mexican woman detained indefinitely by immigration officials, isolating her from her American family; a zoo employee considering what to do with a euthanized antelope's head; and, in the title novella, a lonely woman, riding buses all day, who cannot avert the violence building within her. This collection explores the difference between justice and law through a lens unfiltered by moralistic or didactic intention. Like a surveillance camera meant to record crime, not stop it, Lefer presents a world gone wrong, not because of people's hatred for one another but because of their impossible, unfulfilled yearning to connect.

Diane Leferis the author of two previous collections, The Circles I Move Inand Very Much Like Desire,and the novel Radiant Hunger.She lives in Los Angeles, where she is an artistic associate of Playwrights'Arena, volunteers with the Program for Torture Victims, and serves on the animal behavior observation team of the research department at the Los Angeles Zoo. She teaches in the MFA writing program at Vermont College of the Union Institute & University.

About the Author

Diane Lefer is the author of two previous collections, The Circles I Move In and Very Much Like Desire, and the novel Radiant Hunger. She lives in Los Angeles where she works with the Playwrights' Arena, the Program for Torture Victims, and the LA Zoo. She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

miscink, May 1, 2007 (view all comments by miscink)
Who knows these women? At first glance, the women in Diane Lefer's short fiction collection, California Transit, aren't at all the kind of people we meet in our day-to-day comings and goings. But then again, there is something familiar about them. Aren't they the women on the outskirts of our purposeful paths, who sometimes get in our way? Or maybe it's something else. Well, whoever they are, one thing's clear: they don't particularly know themselves. As much as they'd like us to believe that they do.

This is the unconscious tie that binds a group of matter-of-fact characters and the glimpses the writer gives us into the extraordinary directions their seemingly ordinary lives have taken. It's also what makes this far-reaching material feel very close to home. So while the map of California Transit covers a sweeping territory--race relations, immigration reform, domestic abuse, human rights, animal rights and the religious right--it all comes back to: Yeah. Any of these women could be any of us.

The collection is full of stories which highlight the writer's sometimes shocking, off-handedly intentional voice, her uncanny ability to create the unexpected "we," and humor that sneaks up on you sideways--coming out of the skewed truths her characters hold self-evident. But California Transit's centerpiece is a pretty stunning novella, "At the Site Where Vision Is Most Perfect." With intelligence, wit and compassion, this piece forces us to feel the true absurdity of the tragedy shared by a mother, father, and in particular their 15-year-old son. What's more absurd is that it's a tragedy that's shared by all of us in America today, whether we know it or not.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781932511475
Author:
Lefer, Diane
Publisher:
Sarabande Books
Compiled by:
Maso, Carole
Compiled:
Maso, Carole
Subject:
General
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
April 2007
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.7 in 13.5 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

California Transit: Stories and a Novella Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages CONSORTIUM BOOK SALES & DISTRIBUTION INC. - English 9781932511475 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Following up on two earlier story collections (The Circles I Move In and Very Much Like Desire) and a novel (Radiant Hunger), Lefer offers a sunshine noir's-worth of uneasy left coast tales. 'At the Site Where Vision Is Most Perfect' documents what happens when a longtime Van Nuys resident is detained by immigration officials and becomes a victim of, and witness to, brutish acts of racism committed in the name of homeland security; that she is a Mexican woman named Clifford Pearlstein is just one of the ironic details Lefer uses to heighten the contradictions. A zoo worker's morbidly compelling description of transporting an antelope head drives 'Alas, Falada!' while the narrator of 'Angle and Grip,' who is reeling from a miscarriage and from the death of her husband in a freak accident, signs on to a neighbor's plan to manufacture and sell 'love dolls': 'Apparently I said something about men being dolls, all manufactured in the same fucked up factory and damaged beyond repair.' Lefer's staccato prose adds urgency to her suburban grotesques, giving a disquieting look at everyday lives that make little progress in transit." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Lefer smacks readers hard over the head with her litany of important, but conventional and overused, themes, and her experimental prose...is distracting. Entirely ordinary, despite clearly painstaking attempts not to be."
"Synopsis" by ,
Winner of the 2005 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, selected by Carole Maso.
"Synopsis" by , "From the world that could not be saved, the storyteller salvages small, strange stuff and assembles it into a narrative of alarming beauty and mystery and sadness."-from the introduction by Carole Maso

Southern California: land of dislocation and assimilation, a place Diane Lefer knows well. InCalifornia Transit,she uses conversational prose and macabre wit to zero-in on a Mexican woman detained indefinitely by immigration officials, isolating her from her American family; a zoo employee considering what to do with a euthanized antelope's head; and, in the title novella, a lonely woman, riding buses all day, who cannot avert the violence building within her. This collection explores the difference between justice and law through a lens unfiltered by moralistic or didactic intention. Like a surveillance camera meant to record crime, not stop it, Lefer presents a world gone wrong, not because of people's hatred for one another but because of their impossible, unfulfilled yearning to connect.

Diane Leferis the author of two previous collections, The Circles I Move Inand Very Much Like Desire,and the novel Radiant Hunger.She lives in Los Angeles, where she is an artistic associate of Playwrights'Arena, volunteers with the Program for Torture Victims, and serves on the animal behavior observation team of the research department at the Los Angeles Zoo. She teaches in the MFA writing program at Vermont College of the Union Institute & University.

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