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.
"Taylor flirts with poetic language, teasing us with lines so lusciously packed that even a tattoo's description can set the page on fire." Bookslut
"Justin Taylor does irony and snark and thwarted idealism uncommonly well." Huffington Post
"These short fictions by Justin Taylor give such a convincing account of the rough crossing of young adulthood that they practically induce seasickness. For his youthful protagonists, identity — emotional, intellectual, sexual — is unstable, constantly in motion." Boston Globe
"Justin Taylor is a master of the modern snapshot." Los Angeles Times
Each story in this crystalline, spare, oddly moving collection cuts to the quick. Taylor's characters are guided by delusions and misapprehensions that quickly bring them to impasses with reality. Moving through this collection the reader will meet a young man who has reasoned away certain boundaries in relation to his budding, girl cousin; a high schooler whose desire to win back his crush leads him to experiment with goth magic; a man whose girlfriend is stolen by angels; and a Tetris player who, as the advancing white wall of the Apocalypse slowly churns up his driveway, decides that Death is a kindness.
Fearless and funny, Taylor imagines this and more, in a collection that paints a dark picture of his generation — one that is upwardly mobile yet adrift, fumbling for connection but hopelessly self-involved. And it's all held together by a thread of wounding humor and candid storytelling that marks Taylor as a distinct and emerging literary talent.
Justin Taylor's crystalline, spare, and oddly moving prose cuts to the quick. His characters are guided by misapprehensions that bring them to hilarious but often tragic impasses with reality: a high school boy's desire to win over a crush leads him to experiment with black magic, a fast-food employee preoccupied by Abu Ghraib becomes obsessed with a coworker, a Tetris player attempts to beat his own record while his girlfriend sleeps and the world outside their window blazes to its end. Fearless and astute, funny and tragic, this collection heralds the arrival of a unique literary talent.
For fans of Kevin Brockmeier or Justin Taylor, a poignant and inventive collection of coming-of-age stories by Tin House and Best New American Voices contributor Sean Ennis.
In this beautifully imaginative collection, young people attempt to negotiate the often surreal terrain of childhood and adolescence where family, friends, clergy, and teachers often pose a threat instead of providing safe harbor. At the heart of the collection is the relationship between the meek narrator, his best friend alpha-male Clip, and the near-feral Rogerand#8212;but there are also agoraphobic mothers, gorgeous babysitters from New Zealand, paranoid stoned veterans, and deeply sad older sisters.
Ennis has crafted modern-day captivity narratives, set not at some remote fort, but in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Using cinematic imagery and deft characterization, Ennis explores how we often feel confined and yet find ourselves in places we least expect.
About the Author
Justin Taylor's fiction and nonfiction have been widely published in journals, magazines, and Web sites, including The Believer, the Nation, the New York Tyrant, the Brooklyn Rail, Flaunt, and NPR. A coeditor of The Agriculture Reader and a contributor to HTMLGIANT, Taylor lives in Brooklyn and is at work on his first novel.
Table of Contents
1.and#160;Going After Lovelyand#8195;1
2.and#160;This Is Suicideand#8195;19
3.and#160;Saint Kevin of Fox Chaseand#8195;35
5.and#160;This Is Pennypackand#8195;76
7.and#160;The Kidnapped and the Volunteersand#8195;107
8.and#160;This Is Amblerand#8195;123
9.and#160;This Is Recessionand#8195;152
11.and#160;This Is Tomorrowand#8195;180