Synopses & Reviews
A gracefully disconcerting collection of stories by the winner of the 2005 Narrative Prize.
Wavering between fidelity and freedom, the women in this sparkling debut collection deal with emotional damage and unhealed heartbreak by plunging into unusual, often bizarre, relationships.
In Pia Z. Ehrhardts stories, adultery and impropriety become disquietingly mundane. Mothers expect daughters to be complicit in their love affairs, children seek shelter in families that arent their own, fathers court their daughters, a couple enters into a marriage that lasts thirty days a year, and a young girl takes to the road with the simple guy who bags groceries at Piggly Wiggly while her mother imagines her safely at school.
Beautifully restrained and shot through with tenderness, Famous Fathers and Other Stories establishes Ehrhardt as both a leading practitioner of the short story and an empathetic interpreter of the lives of wounded people who–instead of asking for what they want–take what is offered.
"The lives of the women who populate the stories of this debut collection, set in and around New Orleans, deal to one degree or another with adultery, some with eroticized children. In 'Running the Room,' the narrator ferries her mother on regular trips to the city so her mother can carry on an affair under of the guise of cooking school classes, and in doing so, gets tempted herself. In 'Tell Me in Italian,' the narrator helps her mother catch her father in his love nest. The narrator of 'Abita Springs' orchestrates an odd relationship between her husband and sister, while 'Stop' and the title story careen uneasily into tales of Daddy's little girl gone incestuous. The women seem passive, grasping at something or someone to take them out of themselves and filled with guilt or self-disgust that becomes inertia. Ehrhardt codes in an oblique affection for her characters that works from story to story in a collection with a bleak take on relationships, marriage and family." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Pia Z. Ehrhardt lives in New Orleans with her husband and son. Her stories have been widely published in magazines including McSweeneys Quarterly, the Mississippi Review, and Narrative Magazine, and anthologized in A Cast of Characters and Other Stories and the 2006 Norton Anthology Sudden Fiction: Short-Shorts from America and Beyond. She is the recipient of the 2005 Narrative Prize.