Synopses & Reviews
A century after her birth, Tillie Olsens writing is as relevant as when it first appeared; indeed, the clarity and passion of her vision and style have, if anything, become even more striking over time. Collected here for the first time are several of Olsens nonfiction pieces about the 1930s, early journalism pieces, and short fiction, including the four beautifully crafted, highly celebrated stories originally published as Tell Me a Riddle: “I Stand Here Ironing,” “Hey Sailor, What Ship?,” “O Yes,” and “Tell Me a Riddle.” Also included, for the first time since it appeared in the 1971 Best American Short Stories, is “Requa I.”
In these stories, as in all of her work, Olsen set a new standard for the treatment of women and the poor and for the depiction of their lives and circumstances. In her hands, the hard truths about motherhood and marriage, domestic life, labor, and political conviction found expression in language of such poetic intensity and depth that its influence continues to be felt today.
An introduction by Olsens granddaughter, the poet Rebekah Edwards, and a foreword by her daughter Laurie Olsen provide a personal and generational context for the authors work.
"Kurlansky (Salt) moves from his acclaimed nonfiction to a linked collection of spotty-quality fiction. Food is the unifying theme, but in the least successful efforts--'CrÃ¨me Brulee,' 'Espresso,' 'Boudin,' and 'Hot Pot'--the foodstuffs are smothered by weak characters that are conveyed with less skill than the often lyrical passages devoted to the victuals. In the better pieces, the sensory and cultural anchors that food provide are gorgeously explored, as in 'Osetra,' which charts the gustatory awakening of a Puerto Rican shoplifter, and 'Menudo' in which a stolid and driven U.S. senator bridges a cultural divide with unexpected tenderness. In a contrarian vein, the sludgy salmon brew of 'The Soup' reinforces the gap between the last speaker of an Alaskan native language and the inept but earnest anthropologist trying to prevent the language from dying out. 'Red Sea Salt,' 'Orangina,' and 'Cholent,' meanwhile, introduce equal measures of comic ridiculousness and sly wit to varying degrees of satisfaction. While certainly lighter than Kurlansky's engrossing nonfiction, this remains a mostly successful consideration of the role food plays in life. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"An excellent volume that will appeal to anyone interested in women's studies, social justice, journalism, and American short stories and fiction."—Erica Swenson, Library Journal
"Even a century later, Olsen's writing is brilliantly measured and rich in character—a blend that few writers achieve. Coupled with essays by her daughters and granddaughter, Olsen's newest collection is a must-have for any reader."—Portland Book Review
All-new stories about the food we share, love, and fight over from the national bestselling author of Cod and Salt.
In these linked stories, Mark Kurlansky reveals the bond that can hold people together, tear them apart, or make them become vegan: food. Through muffins or hot dogs, an indigenous Alaskan fish soup, a bean curd Thanksgiving turkey or potentially toxic crème brulee, a rotating cast of characters learns how to honor the past, how to realize you're not in love with someone any more, and how to forgive. These women and men meet and eat and love, leave and drink and in the end, come together in Seattle as they are as inextricably linked with each other as they are with the food they eat and the wine they drink.
Kurlansky brings a keen eye and unerring sense of humanity to these stories. And throughout, his love and knowledge of food shows just how important a role what we eat plays in our lives.
In these linked stories, Kurlansky ("Cod" and "Salt") reveals the bond that can hold people together, tear them apart, or make them become vegan: food.
About the Author
Tillie Olsen (1912-2007) was an activist, feminist, award-winning author, and teacher who won nine honorary degrees and whose short stories “Tell Me a Riddle” (winner of the O. Henry Award) and “I Stand Here Ironing” have been anthologized extensively. She is the author of the novel Yonondio: From the Thirties
, available in a Bison Books edition, the nonfiction book Silences
, and numerous published essays and is the editor of Mother to Daughter, Daughter to Mother: Mothers on Mothering