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Female Trouble: Storiesby Antonya Nelson
Synopses & Reviews
"Nelson's prose is precise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable."
— "The New York Times Book Review"
Antonya Nelson is widely regarded as one of America's most talented women writers — "The New Yorker" has named her one of the twenty best writers of her generation — and with "Female Trouble" she returns to the short-story form with which she made her original literary mark.
Thirteen wise, funny, and startlingly perceptive stories about the vagaries of marriage, the uncertainties of family, and the revelations of female life, "Female Trouble" looks at the relationships not just between men and women but also between parents and children, brothers and sisters. Probing the subjects of love, fidelity, desire, dependence, and solitude, Nelson explores the broad notion of family from myriad angles, but always with surprising insight and her trademark offbeat humor.
The title story features a thirty-year-old man carrying on intimate relationships with three different women — one institutionalized, one pregnant, one purely maternal — but unable to commit to any of them. "Incognito" depicts a divorced woman whose turbulent teen years are suddenly brought back to her when she returns to her hometown with her own teenage daughter. In "The Unified Front," a husband reckons with his wife's decision to steal a baby while at a famous theme park, and in "Stitches," a disturbing late-night phone call forces a mother to confront her college-age daughter's sexuality and her own adulterous past.
Set in the vividly rendered Southwest and Midwest, these moving stories are dark and honest portraits of people in moral quandaries, gray areas, unclear circumstances — stories that reveal us to ourselves with disturbing clarity. As always, Nelson astounds with the clean, terse power of her language, and she deftly uses humor to expose the soft underbellies of her tough-talking, unblinking characters. These are stories that will linger in the reader's mind long after they are read.
Michael Chabon calls Antonya Nelson "absolutely one of my favorites among story writers today, " and David Foster Wallace declared, "I read her newest collection so fast the pages are singed." The Village Voice has also sung her praises, writing "Nelson's great gift is her ability to create characters so lovable — even in the face of their many flaws."
The stories in Female Trouble shine with Nelson's characteristic sense of humor, her clean, powerful prose, and her skill at bringing to life the emotional undercurrents that shape lives and relationships. In one story, a husband must deal with his wife's decision to steal a baby during a visit to a famous theme park; in another, a thirty-year-old man is romantically involved with three women and unable to commit to any of them. And in "Loose Cannon, " Nelson uses the revolving relationship of an adult brother and sister to explore the idea that sometimes we create disasters so that others can be heroes.
The stories in "Female Trouble" shine with Nelson's characteristic sense of humor, her clean, powerful prose, and her skill at bringing to life the emotional undercurrents that shape lives and relationships.
Female Trouble features thirteen wise, funny, and startlingly perceptive stories about the vagaries and revelations of womanhood. Named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best writers of her generation, Antonya Nelson explores the broad notion of family from myriad angles in Female Trouble. Set in the vividly rendered Midwest, these moving stories are dark and honest portraits of people in moral quandaries, gray areas, unclear circumstances — from the three-timing thirty-year-old man of the title story to the divorced mother of a turbulent teen in "Incognito" to the sexually adventurous daughter of an adulterous mother in "Stitches." With Female Trouble, Nelson has created a cast of memorable characters who reveal us to ourselves with disturbing clarity and conscience.
About the Author
Antonya Nelson teaches creative writing at the University of Houston, and is the award-winning author of three novels and four short story collections. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and The Best American Short Stories. She divides her time among Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Table of Contents
The Lonely Doll
Irony, Irony, Irony
The Unified Front
One Dog Is People
The Other Daughter
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