Synopses & Reviews
These 28 stories explore the diverse terrain of women's experiences as mothers, daughters, wives, lovers, artists, and friends. Ellen Gilchrist's "Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle" chronicles the touching romance between a young schoolteacher from Arkansas and an earnest Chinese medical student; Alice McDermott's "Enough" introduces us to a woman with an insatiable desire for ice cream. Here, too, are stories by such classic practitioners of the form as Sandra Cisneros, Grace Paley, Alice Munro, and Joyce Carol Oates, and by writers more recently arrived on the literary scene, including Jhumpa Lahiri, ZZ Packer, and Marisa Silver. In her introduction, Wendy Martin describes this anthology as "wrestling with the cultural and social prohibitions that have been with us for centuries." Taken together, these stories provide a collective mirror of the remarkable transformations that have occurred in the lives of women in the final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.
"Following editor Martin's 1990 anthology, We Are the Stories We Tell, this volume matches and perhaps even surpasses its predecessor. Martin's goal, she writes in her introduction, is 'to provide representative narratives that are a pleasure to read and portray women's experiences in the final decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first,' and her anthology delivers on both fronts. Its roster is a virtual who's who of contemporary letters, featuring writers who rose to prominence in the 1970s and '80s (Ann Beattie, Bobbie Ann Mason), the '90s (Mary Gaitskill, Lorrie Moore) and the current decade (Jhumpa Lahiri, ZZ Packer). Joyce Carol Oates's 'Love, Forever' shocks and chills in just four pages, as a mother murders to keep her lover. Alice Munro proves again her incomparable ability to capture entire lifetimes while retaining the intimacy of singular moments in 'Floating Bridge.' Amy Hempel's 'Beg, Sl Tog, Inc, Cont, Rep' is a gorgeous story of loss, healing and obsessive knitting. Writers who are sometimes overlooked, such as Kate Braverman, Toni Cade Bambara and Stephanie Vaughn, earn spots here as well. The narrator in Jamaica Kincaid's 'Song of Roland' mourns that 'joy is so short-lived there isn't enough time to dwell on its occurrence.' But readers of this volume will find lasting pleasure in the strength, breadth and emotional resonance of the stories here; this book is a boon for any fan of contemporary writing by women. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The second collection drawn together by editor Wendy Martin, these twenty-four exquisite examples of contemporary writing feature stories by Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Mary Gaitskill, Alice Munro, Sandra Cisneros, and Lorrie Moore (to name a few).
We Are the Stories We Tell is also available from Pantheon.
About the Author
Wendy Martin is chair of the Department of English at Claremont Graduate University. She is also the editor of We Are the Stories We Tell (available from Pantheon). She lives in Berkeley, California.