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The Curse of the Appropriate Man (Harvest Original)by Lynn Freed
Synopses & Reviews
These witty, subtly erotic stories explore the fierce bonds and hidden compulsions that drive the lives of women, young and old.
Whether depicting the struggle between strong mothers and rebellious daughters, or the often bizarre directions in which women's desires can take them, Lynn Freed delivers surprise after surprise. These masterful stories reinforce her reputation as one of our most fearless and sophisticated observers of love in all its forms-a writer who shakes the truth from life.
Praise for Lynn Freed's novels
"Freed wonderfully carries off that hardest of all literary effects-it feels effortless and therefore absolutely real."-Elle
There is not a word out of place... Freed delves deep into the morass of sexual and filial love without mitigating complexity, and leads her reader toward insight and understanding with a deft and delicate touch."-The Washington Post Book World
Lynn Freed is the author of five novels, and the inaugural recipient of the Katherine Anne Porter Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Northern
"Women's relationships — with their mothers, their lovers, their culture and their own sexuality — are the subject of the 14 stories (written over nearly 20 years) in this fine collection. Freed, the author of five novels (The Mirror; House of Women; etc.), creates achingly real women and lovingly rendered misfits, and she reports straightforwardly and without judgment on their unconventional urges and questionable decisions. 'Under the House' recounts a young girl's first sexual encounter with a traveling knife sharpener in the crawl space under her house and her subsequent memories of what should have been a traumatic event for her but was in fact something much more ambiguous. 'The Widow's Daughter' tells of a young woman, possibly abused as a child, discovering and then flaunting her sexual power, much to her mother's horror. In the affecting title story, a middle-aged woman ponders how 'half a lifetime of appropriate men can leave a woman parched for adventure.' She dates two eccentric men but, finding herself still longing for the exotic, travels to Asia. On her way back, she meets a friend who's taken the opposite tack, marrying for convenience ('Quite acceptable, once you get over the death of the heart'). A few of these stories are schematic in their briefness, but most are quietly devastating and deeply resonant. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh at William Morris. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"As these stories amply illustrate, [Freed] is...one whose style and preferred subject are eminently well matched, whose spare, classic prose exposes hidden acts while pointing obliquely at hidden thoughts." Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review
This collection of 14 short stories deals with the struggles between mothers and their wayward daughters, the often preposterous bonds that tie men and women together, and the complex games masters and servants play with one another.
These fourteen short stories, written over the past ten years but never before collected, deal with the struggles between mothers and their wayward daughters, the often preposterous bonds that tie men and women together, and the complex games masters and servants play with one another. In spare, elegant prose, Freed delivers surprise after surprise as she shakes the truth from life. Whether it's her portrayal of a mother mired in senile dementia in "Ma," a young girl experiencing her first sexual encounter with an itinerant knife-sharpener in "Under the House," or a young woman incapable of loving conventionally in "An Error of Desire," Freed portrays the absurdity, the delusions, the dramas, and the dignity of her characters' lives. These masterful stories reinforce her reputation as one of our most fearless and sophisticated explorers of sexual and filial love.
About the Author
LYNN FREED was awarded the inaugural Katherine Anne Porter Award for fiction by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of six novels, a short story collection, and a collection of essays.
Table of Contents
Under the House
The Widow's Daughter
Family of Shadows
An Error of Desire
Liars, Cheats, and Cowards
The Curse of the Appropriate Man
Selina Comes to the City
The First Rule of Happiness
Ma: A Memoir
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