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Famous Fathers and Other Stories

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Famous Fathers and Other Stories Cover

ISBN13: 9781596922358
ISBN10: 1596922354
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A gracefully disconcerting collection of stories by the winner of the 2005 Narrative Prize.

Wavering between fidelity and freedom, the women in this sparkling debut collection deal with emotional damage and unhealed heartbreak by plunging into unusual, often bizarre, relationships.

In Pia Z. Ehrhardt's stories, adultery and impropriety become disquietingly mundane. Mothers expect daughters to be complicit in their love affairs, children seek shelter in families that aren't their own, fathers court their daughters, a couple enters into a marriage that lasts thirty days a year, and a young girl takes to the road with the simple guy who bags groceries at Piggly Wiggly while her mother imagines her safely at school.

Beautifully restrained and shot through with tenderness, Famous Fathers and Other Stories establishes Ehrhardt as both a leading practitioner of the short story and an empathetic interpreter of the lives of wounded people who — instead of asking for what they want — take what is offered.

Review:

"The lives of the women who populate the stories of this debut collection, set in and around New Orleans, deal to one degree or another with adultery, some with eroticized children. In 'Running the Room,' the narrator ferries her mother on regular trips to the city so her mother can carry on an affair under of the guise of cooking school classes, and in doing so, gets tempted herself. In 'Tell Me in Italian,' the narrator helps her mother catch her father in his love nest. The narrator of 'Abita Springs' orchestrates an odd relationship between her husband and sister, while 'Stop' and the title story careen uneasily into tales of Daddy's little girl gone incestuous. The women seem passive, grasping at something or someone to take them out of themselves and filled with guilt or self-disgust that becomes inertia. Ehrhardt codes in an oblique affection for her characters that works from story to story in a collection with a bleak take on relationships, marriage and family." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Pia Ehrhardt's tender and funny stories are filled with passionate women just barely bottled up by their everyday responsibilities....They render for us that jumping-on-a-trampoline feeling, when our most intimate connections are the top of the bounce, and the view up there is both scary and sweet." Jim Shepard, author of Love and Hydrogen and Project X

Review:

"Pia Z. Ehrhardt's Famous Fathers is a stunning first collection. The stories charm and tease and threaten with equal fervor....To read them is to be seduced, at night and in the slanting rain, in a new city, over quiet water, by the woman of your dreams." Frederick Barthelme, author of Moon Deluxe and Natural Selection

Synopsis:

Wavering between fidelity and freedom, the women in this sparkling debut collection deal with emotional damage and unhealed heartbreak by plunging into unusual, often bizarre, relationships.

About the Author

Pia Z. Ehrhardt lives in New Orleans with her husband and son. Her stories have been widely published in magazines, including McSweeney's Quarterly, the Mississippi Review, and Narrative Magazine, and anthologized in A Cast of Characters and Other Stories and the 2006 Norton anthology Sudden Fiction: Short-Shorts from America and Beyond. She is the recipient of the 2005 Narrative Prize.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Myfanwy Collins, June 22, 2007 (view all comments by Myfanwy Collins)
Do not be fooled into thinking the female protagonists in Pia Z. Ehrhardt's knock-out debut, Famous Fathers and Other Stories, are passive. They are not.

This is not the 19th century?there is no awakening. This woman is not about to head into the ocean. She?s already there, already reborn, and she?s taken charge. She?s in control. She?s got her own place and she?s generous with her freedom.

But like the levee, the reservoir, the water tower, the bridges?she is contained, but just barely. And the men who believe they are restraining her, who believe they have the upper hand, aren?t and don?t. Even in the waterless landscape?the desert?she remains in control, because after all she lives. She rises again like Lazarus?and she is her own Jesus (not the fellow who gives her a ride to the hospital. He?s made to seem important, but we know she would have lived whether he came along or not).

Like the levees we are all so familiar with now in the post-Katrina world, if you make the wrong move, if you push her too far, the woman will break free. She will flood her restraints?she will take over your streets, your house. She will send you fleeing from the city you love. But she doesn?t do this in these stories?she keeps herself as much in check as she can stand. And why? Well, for love. Love is the ultimate prize, the gift. She will do just about anything for love?and truthfully she finds getting it from men easy enough.

So what is she seeking then? What is it that drives her? The key is in her relationships with other women?the mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, other wives?living and dead. These are the people who have power over her. These are the relationships that are tricky, that require finesse. These are the relationship which frustrate and devastate and maybe even leave her feeling powerless, though not beaten. She will keep at it, keep trying to understand because that is what will bring some relief to the hurt: empathy.

The famous fathers? Well, they?re really just a way to try to understand the distant mother?the one whose high-heeled footsteps you hear echoing on the floors down below you?walking away, loud on wood, on tile, and muted with carpet. But always?always?with the father following behind, and the daughter left to wonder if she will ever return.

An absolutely smashing collection which will leave you with Ehrhardt?s powerful and confident voice ringing in your ears. If you are anything like me, you?ll find yourself dog earing every other page so that you can go back and read a certain passage again, relish it. These stories will grab onto you and not let go anytime soon?and you won?t want them to.

Read it.
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(7 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
lindsay hunter, June 15, 2007 (view all comments by lindsay hunter)
i love these stories!
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(6 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781596922358
Author:
Ehrhardt, Pia Z.
Publisher:
MacAdam/Cage Publishing
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
June 15, 2007
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
166
Dimensions:
7.92x5.06x.57 in. .45 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Famous Fathers and Other Stories Used Trade Paper
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Product details 166 pages MacAdam/Cage Publishing - English 9781596922358 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The lives of the women who populate the stories of this debut collection, set in and around New Orleans, deal to one degree or another with adultery, some with eroticized children. In 'Running the Room,' the narrator ferries her mother on regular trips to the city so her mother can carry on an affair under of the guise of cooking school classes, and in doing so, gets tempted herself. In 'Tell Me in Italian,' the narrator helps her mother catch her father in his love nest. The narrator of 'Abita Springs' orchestrates an odd relationship between her husband and sister, while 'Stop' and the title story careen uneasily into tales of Daddy's little girl gone incestuous. The women seem passive, grasping at something or someone to take them out of themselves and filled with guilt or self-disgust that becomes inertia. Ehrhardt codes in an oblique affection for her characters that works from story to story in a collection with a bleak take on relationships, marriage and family." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Pia Ehrhardt's tender and funny stories are filled with passionate women just barely bottled up by their everyday responsibilities....They render for us that jumping-on-a-trampoline feeling, when our most intimate connections are the top of the bounce, and the view up there is both scary and sweet."
"Review" by , "Pia Z. Ehrhardt's Famous Fathers is a stunning first collection. The stories charm and tease and threaten with equal fervor....To read them is to be seduced, at night and in the slanting rain, in a new city, over quiet water, by the woman of your dreams."
"Synopsis" by , Wavering between fidelity and freedom, the women in this sparkling debut collection deal with emotional damage and unhealed heartbreak by plunging into unusual, often bizarre, relationships.
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