Synopses & Reviews
In these stories, a teacher obsesses over a student who comes to class with scratch marks on his face; a Catholic girl graduating high school finds a warped kind of redemption in her school's contrived class rituals; and a woman looking to rent a house is sucked into a strangely inappropriate correspondence with one of the landlords. These are just a few of the powerful plotlines in Suzanne Rivecca's gorgeously wrought collection. From a college student who adopts a false hippie persona to find love, to a young memoirist who bumps up against a sexually obsessed fan, the characters in these fiercely original tales grapple with what it means to be honest with themselves and the world. These stories explode "with piercing insight . . . illuminating the dangerous dance between victims and saviors. [They] deliver us to the edge of grief, that precarious place where the moral compass spins--where codes of love and law and religion fail. Mercy here depends on a tiger's sublime grace, our capacity to resist deeper harm, and the right of every broken being to remain silent" (Melanie Rae Thon).
"The female protagonists in Rivecca's debut collection have a lot in common, so much so that they at times feel like the same person, despite (slight) variations in context. They are a mostly Midwestern bunch, sassy, bookish, and Catholic (or lapsed Catholic), but it's their ambivalent relationships to victimhood that provide the collection with its real material: some refuse to be pitied, while others dabble in self-victimization for selfish purposes. In the title story, Emma bids farewell to her Sacred Heart classmates, including the popular Claire, who has spent most of their 'friendship' trying to publicly humiliate Emma. In 'Yours Will Do Nicely,' 21-year-old Katrina tries to maintain a relationship with a one-night stand by writing a fanciful letter to the boy she's effortlessly enchanted. 'Very Special Victims' introduces Kath, who can't seem to convince those around her that her existence shouldn't be defined by the fact that she was molested as a child. Rivecca's a competent writer and obviously adept at mining the experiences of a certain kind of character, but the stories' provocations aren't delivered upon; instead, they feel repetitive and self-satisfied. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Recalls early Gaitskill in its stark depiction of girls who lost their innocence long before they knew it was theirs to lose.I was astonished and transported by the stories in this collection which are simultaneously hilariously funny and sharply, sometimes painfully, perceptive. I stayed up reading them late into the night because I did not want to put them down and I thought about them for a long time after I finished the last one. I think about them still. -- Emily Mitchell, author of
With exquisite patience and piercing insight, Suzanne Rivecca illuminates the dangerous dance between victims and saviors. Death Is Not an Optiondelivers us to the edge of grief, that precarious place where the moral compass spins--where codes of love and law and religion fail. Mercy here depends on a tiger's sublime grace, our capacity to resist deeper harm, and the right of every broken being to remain silent. -- Melanie Rae Thon, author of
The intensity of thought and feeling in Suzanne Rivecca's stories is remarkable.... The stories are brilliant, funny, and scary. This book is a major achievement. -- Charles Baxter, author of
Suzanne Rivecca is a wonderfully lively and fearless new writer. I greatly admired the stories in Death Is Not an Option. -- Lorrie Moore, author of
These stories explode with piercing insight . . . illuminating the dangerous dance between victims and saviors. They] deliver us to the edge of grief, that precarious place where the moral compass spins where codes of love and law and religion fail. Mercy here depends on a tiger s sublime grace, our capacity to resist deeper harm, and the right of every broken being to remain silent (Melanie Rae Thon). "
A bold, dazzling debut collection about girls and women in a world where sexuality and self-delusion collide.
About the Author
Suzanne Rivecca's fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices 2009, among other publications. A winner of the Pushcart Prize and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she lives in San Francisco.