Saints and Sinners: Stories - Edna O'Brien

The Saints And Sinners in Edna O'Brien's latest collection are mostly downtrodden Irish folk caught in an unforgiving world where grace is the exception, not the rule. The narrator in "Madame Cassandra" is desperate for information about what she already knows—that her husband is cheating on her with a girl young enough to be his granddaughter—and seeks out a fortuneteller to deliver the news. When, by chance, the narrator and her husband meet on the train as he returns from his illicit rendezvous, a kernel of hope is sewn into the final paragraphs. In "Inner Cowboy" a mentally disabled man runs up against a greedy real-estate developer, and the unexpected turns and quick pacing intensify the heartbreaking ending. In my favorite of the collection, "Green Georgette," an impoverished young girl and her mother unwillingly provide cover for a wealthy woman's affair with the local doctor, and the girl's mounting rage symbolically explodes into violence. O'Brien's spare yet lyric language hypnotizes.

Saints and Sinners: Stories By Edna O'Brien Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316122726
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Published: Back Bay Books - May 9th, 2011

The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg - Deborah Eisenberg

At first glance, this prose isn’t flashy, yet its phrases can dazzle; the narratives aren’t cerebral, but they pose knotty moral problems; the plots are the classic American ones of the road trip, the repeated coming-of-age, the unsettling encounters with other cultures, especially in Latin America, yet each story moves in complex, unexpected directions. The work of a writer renowned for a spare, distinguished output, The Collected Stories Of Deborah Eisenberg (Picador, $22) adds up to a substantial body of work. From her accomplished first book in 1986 through her most recent collection, the acclaimed Twilight of the Superheroes, Eisenberg has chronicled the lives of men and women, mostly in New York, struggling to make sense of their lives, relationships, and careers, but her devastating wit, nuanced satire, and uncompromising yet generous vision, make them much more.

The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg: Stories By Deborah Eisenberg Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312429898
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(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Picador - March 30th, 2010

The Thing Around Your Neck - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer who divides her time between the U.S. and the land of her birth. She is a skilled novelist with important stories to tell. In The Thing Around Your Neck (Anchor, $15), her first collection of short fiction, she writes about the experiences of her fellow Nigerians, here and at home. In the title story a young woman comes to the U.S. and finds this is not the America of her dreams. Another  woman lives in the lap of luxury in Philadelphia but learns from friends that her husband has moved another woman into their Lagos home. The sense of isolation and betrayal these women feel is palpable.  Adichie makes real the fear of both the medical student fleeing a riot and the Muslim woman who shelters him in “A Private Experience.” The beauty of short-story collections is that they can be read one piece at a time—perfect for summer.

The Thing Around Your Neck By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307455918
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Published: Vintage - June 1st, 2010