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Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain: Storiesby Lucia Perillo
Perillo has already won (and broken) our hearts through her poetry, but now she takes it up a notch with an absolutely flawless book of short stories. This gathering is raw, every entry reflecting pieces of life we can relate to. Not since Donald Ray Pollock's Knockemstiff has a short-story collection packed such a powerful punch.
Synopses & Reviews
Populating a small town in the Pacific Northwest, the characters in Lucia Perillo's story collection all resist giving the world what it expects of them and are surprised when the world comes roaring back. An addict trapped in a country house becomes obsessed with vacuum cleaners and the people who sell them door-to-door. An abandoned woman seeks consolation in tales of armed robbery told by one of her fellow suburban housewives. An accidental mother struggles to answer her daughter's badgering about her paternity. And in three stories readers meet Louisa, a woman with Down syndrome who serves as an accomplice to her younger sister's sexual exploits and her aging mother's fantasies of revenge. Together, is a sharp-edged, witty testament to the ambivalence of emotions, the way they pull in directions that often cancel one another out or twist their subjects into knots. In lyrical prose, Perillo draws on her training as a naturalist and a poet to map the terrain of the comic and the tragic, asking how we draw the boundaries between these two zones. What's funny, what's heartbreaking, and who gets to decide?
A stunning debut from an award-winning poet.
About the Author
Lucia Perillo has published five books of poetry and a collection of essays, and was the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Inseminating the Elephant. This is her first work of fiction. She lives in Olympia, Washington.
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