Synopses & Reviews
A distinctive voice marks Melanie Rae Thon's fiction. The nine stories in this new collection are peopled by characters who live on the margins, in landscapes both urban and rural. In the heartbreakingly comic title story, a 326-pound woman in a Seattle morgue pins a Vietnam vet to the floor. In "Necessary Angels," a young girl in Florida reveals the secret dangers of her privileged life: alligators and furious ducks, a crippled grandfather, a burning car. Taking us from the cobblestone streets of Boston to a deserted Montana road, Thon's stories set us in the borderlands, in the places where sudden accidents and misguided passions make it impossible to return to the safe territory of a former life.
"At a time when so much contemporary short fiction is saddled with a dreadful marshmallow paunch it's all too soft, too forcedly quirky, too full of strained joie de vivre a book of supposedly tough little stories like Melanie Rae Thon's First, Body should come as something of a relief. But Thon's stories, well-crafted as they are, have another problem: they're all edges and sharp corners, filled with sentences like 'My chest felt brittle as glass. If I touched my ribs, I thought I'd splinter in the cold' as if recurring metaphors of cracked bone and shattered glass were all a writer needed to make a story difficult and deep." Stephanie Zacharek, Salon
"This is Ms. Thon at her most vivid: the dark, urgent lyricism, the insistent physicality." The New York Times Book Review
"Melanie Rae Thon proves that she can make the grimmest subjects seem beautiful by the sheer pyrotechnics of her prose." The San Francisco Chronicle
"This is Ms. Thon at her most vivid: the dark, urgent lyricism, the insistent physicality, but also, finally, the inescapable writerliness." Rand Richards Cooper, The New York Times Book Review
"The characters give themselves up early and for every reason money, fear, to please others but never for love or even for their own pleasure. Human bodies here are really never whole, flesh and soul: they are parts, pieces of lives that don't get to be lived....First, Body leaves me completely in awe." Christopher Tilghman, Ploughshares
Winner of the 1997 Whiting Writers' Award
One of Granta's "Best Young American Novelists"
About the Author
Melanie Rae Thon is the author of Iona Moon, Meteors in August, and Girls in the Grass. Her short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Paris Review, Story, and Granta. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, and teaches at Ohio State University.