Synopses & Reviews
An anonymous cast spans four generations in the struggle for redemption, love, and peace. An immigrant cobbler sees his son wrongly arrested by a man who shines his shoes. The memory of a boy’s deceased mother is betrayed when his friend use her makeup as gag. A waitress secretly admires a man who atones for his troubled past by refurbishing a house. And a man laments his lost love by tracing her footsteps across the floors of his empty apartment. A storm looms, bringing the stories together across time and place, uniting them all by their common humanity. These intense portraits are packed with intelligent Christian allegory and lyricism that work together to culminate in one bright mosaic picture.
"This enigmatic collection by Hall comprises curious musings on the convergence of the natural and human worlds. In 'Visitations,' dead squirrels are trapped in the wall of a pregnant woman's kitchen while the father of her baby is away. The smell of decay leads to paranoia and the suspicion that the father has cursed the house. 'Skinny Girls' Constitution and Bylaws' is a humorously chilling list of girls whose 'knees are castanets,' who 'chant Plath at school assemblies,' and whose 'job is to fasten ties around men's necks.' 'All the Day's Sad Stories,' a novella, is about a superstitious married couple, Mercy and Jake, trying to conceive despite omens such as Jake's cookie lacking a fortune. Many of these selections, such as 'By the Gleam of Her Teeth, She Will Light the Path Before Her,' have quirky titles that deliver atmospheric and dreamlike stories sure to fascinate. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Winner of the 2010 Drue Heinz Literature Prize
The Physics of Imaginary Objects, in fifteen stories and a novella, offers a very different kind of short fiction, blending story with verse to evoke fantasy, allegory, metaphor, love, body, mind, and nearly every sensory perception. Weaving in and out of the space that connects life and death in mysterious ways, these texts use carefully honed language that suggests a newfound spirituality.
Four separate generations of nameless characters struggle for redemption, love, and peace in a lyrically weaved collection of stories.
About the Author
“This enigmatic collection comprises curious musings on the convergence of the natural and human worlds. [Delivers] atmospheric and dreamlike stories sure to fascinate.”
“Hall’s pungent writing breaks down walls between poetry and prose, narrator and reader, humor and horror. These stories, a daunting cross between Rikki Ducornet and early Jayne Anne Phillips, reveal the author’s fascination with life and death, the confusion of hunger with other needs, and the bureaucratic tyranny of forms: sonnets and novellas, chapters and verses.”
—Los Angeles Times
“It looks like prose to the eye, but it’s memorable for the beauty and rhythm of the language, and it longs to be read aloud. . . Some stories in the collection have a traditional structure, but their magic is still in the poetry.“
“[Hall] marries plot to the beauty of her prose--but her priorities are lyricism first, narrative second. She’s concerned with relationships, the hidden lives of objects, and the death of beauty. She’s concerned with those tiny, everyday moments that reverberate throughout our lives, a beacon of otherworldliness in an ordinary world.”
“One of the most breathtaking books you will read this year. The stories are dense and elegant and oftentimes strange but always engaging.Hall is a master sentence crafter. She put words together in really complex, beautiful ways.”. . . As I read each story I was left with a profound sense of awe for the intelligence and grace with which this collection was written.”
“Occasionally you stumble across a piece of literary fiction so eloquent in its style, honest in its material, and direct in its approach that it resonates with you days, weeks, years after you read it. ‘The Physics of Imaginary Objects’ is one of these intelligent, enlightening, and brazen books that you’ll want to place on your shelf at eye-level so you will remember to keep picking it up. Hall’s poetic style and articulate precision give this book a revolutionary quality. It nudges you along with an air of solemn importance and modest wisdom. Expertly composed and awesomely beautiful, Hall’s hybrid of poetry and prose is neither sparse nor excessive, sentimental nor detached, diffident nor ostentatious.”
Table of Contents
Elynia Prologue I A Trip to the Graveyard II Footsteps Upstairs III The Church and Military Monuments in the Town IV The Shoe Man V A Picture Found in the Salvation Army VI Man Looks too Long into a Window VII Building Ourselves Devotion VIII Reaching Out to Touch the Old Ramparts IX Consuming Romance (The Hypnotist) X The Already-Criminal XI Time Spent as a Picture upon a Shelf XII An Afternoon Game XIII A Man Buys a House XIV The Waitress and the Secret Box XV A Tendency of Staring at the Storm Drain
Epilogue Other Stories I Rope II Train Platform III The Artist is Human IV Aria Night V Cistern VI The Harbormaster