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Little Sinners And Other Stories

Author: Karen Brown
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 0803244681
Size: 61.52 MB
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Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Karen Brown’s Little Sinners, and Other Stories features a sad, strange mosaic of women and men grappling with the loss and pain of everyday existence, people inhabiting a suburban landscape haunted by ghosts: a mother who leaps from a ridge, a mistress found at the bottom of the Connecticut River, a father who dresses in a pale blue-custom suit—and disappears. The dead leave behind postcards, houses, bottles of sherry, bones. They become local legends, their stories part of the characters’ own: an expectant mother in an isolated cottage on Long Island Sound uncovers an unsettling secret in her backyard; a troubled housewife is lured to a dinner party by a teenage girl whose mother has vanished under mysterious circumstances; a woman and her lover swim the pools of their neighborhood under cover of darkness; a young heiress struggles with mortality and the abandonments in her past. These stories capture the domestic world in all its blighted promise—a world where women’s roles in housekeeping, marriage, childbirth, and sex have been all too well defined, and where the characters fashion, recklessly and passionately, their own methods of escape.

Pins Needles

Author: Karen Brown
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1476739196
Size: 39.10 MB
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Winner of the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction In Pins and Needles, Karen Brown explores the dynamics of love and longing between mother and child, husband and wife, close friends, and virtual strangers, often peeling back the facade of a seemingly stable suburban life to reveal the secrets and transgressions that even good people can be guilty of. In “She Fell to Her Knees,” Nell inherits the neglected house in which her mother died years before, and begins an affair with the neighbor. The narrator of “Apparitions,” who has recently returned the blind grandson she was raising to the care of his mother, invites a confused young man into her home. In “The Ropewalk,” a bartender haunted by her abandonment of her own child aids a customer in a struggle for custody of her daughters. A pregnant teenager in “Unction” comes to accept the reality of her situation while working a summer job in a bookbinding shop. Annie, the young mother with a tragic past in “Pins and Needles,” leaves her infant daughter to go on an errand in a snowstorm, and picks up a boy she doesn't know. Evocative, sexy, and haunting, these are stories that readers won't soon forget.

Domesticated Wild Things And Other Stories

Author: Xhenet Aliu
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 0803271964
Size: 18.54 MB
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Just down the highway from Connecticut’s Gold Coast is the state’s rusty underbelly, the wretched, used-up sort of place where you might find Xhenet Aliu’s Domesticated Wild Things: the reluctant mothers, delinquent dads, and not-quite-feral children, yet dreamers all. These are the children of immigrants who found boarded-up brass mills instead of the gilded streets of America; they’re the teenaged girls raised in the fluorescent glow of Greek diners, the middle-aged men with pump trucks and teratomas. These are people who have fled, or who should have. And if they are indeed familiar, it is because Aliu writes what is real, whether we ourselves, her readers, have seen it up close or not. And her stories make sense in a way that matters. A young mother buys into a real-estate investment seminar offered on an infomercial, only to be put back into her place by a bully in foreclosure. A closeted wrestler befriends a latchkey seven-year-old neighbor who harbors secrets of her own. A YMCA counselor tries to reclaim shoes stolen by a troubled young camper. What they share is a biting humor, an eye for the absurd, and fumbling attempts at human connection, all rendered irresistible—and as moving as they are amusing—by a writer whose work is at once edgy and endearing and prize winning for reasons any reader can appreciate.

Bliss And Other Short Stories

Author: Ted Gilley
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 0803233566
Size: 62.99 MB
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Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, this daring collection of nine stories introduces readers to an edgy vision and a world in which certainties are tested and found wanting. A Cambodian refugee negotiates the icy waters of American social and sexual life. A young couple seeks "peak experiences" to escape grief, only to discover that they've brought it along with them. A teenage girl, unable to face the imminent end of her grandfather's life, risks her own life in an impulsive act. A man's fragile hold on reality becomes the key to his finding, albeit through a terrifying labyrinth, his heart's desire. The characters inBliss and Other Short Storiesmust find their way to a truth that, though less than perfect, is one they can live with. Finding bliss, it seems, is as much about pain as about pleasure, and in Ted Gilley's writing the discovery is always exquisite.

Our Lady Of The Artichokes And Other Portuguese American Stories

Author: Katherine Vaz
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 0803217900
Size: 22.58 MB
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The stories in this prize-winning collection evoke a complete world, one so richly imagined and finely realized that the stories themselves are not so much read as experienced. The world of these stories is Portuguese-American, redolent of incense and spices, resonant with ritual and prayer, immersed in the California culture of freeway and commerce. Packed with lyrical prose and vivid detail, acclaimed writer Katherine Vaz conjures a captivating blend of Old World heritage and New World culture to explore the links between families, friends, strangers, and their world. ø From the threat of a serial killer as the background for a young girl?s first brush with death to the fallout of a modern-day visitation from the Virgin Mary; from an AIDS-stricken squatter refusing to vacate an empty Lisbon home to a mother?s yearlong struggle with the death of her synesthetic daughter, these deft stories make their world ours.

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize

Author: James Engelhardt
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 0803246412
Size: 41.10 MB
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After ten years of selecting great books from writers, new and established, Prairie Schooner celebrates the first decade of its Book Prize series by offering this collection of excerpts from each year’s winners in fiction and poetry. Writers such as Brock Clarke, Anne Finger, Rynn Williams, and Paul Guest open windows to ordinary and fantastic experience showcasing the liveliness and power of contemporary literature. Greg Hrbek’s darkly comic, genre-bending tales stand alongside Ted Gilley’s stories about achieving bliss through pain and John Keeble’s reflections on community and the difficulty of love. Here Shane Book’s poems serve as an elegiac witness to suffering, while Kathleen Flenniken’s poems consider ordinary women constructing their own significance, and Kara Candito’s explore sex, loss, and human passions. Whether the topic is fantastic or quotidian, childbirth or monsters, South American airplane disaster or suburban Wisconsin, this writing carries us to the furthest reaches of human experience.

Black Jesus And Other Superheroes

Author: Venita Blackburn
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 149620400X
Size: 69.42 MB
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Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Black Jesus and Other Superheroes chronicles ordinary people achieving vivid extrasensory perception while under extreme pain. The stories tumble into a universe of the jaded and the hopeful, in which men and women burdened with unwieldy and undesirable superhuman abilities are nonetheless resilient in subtle and startling ways. Venita Blackburn's characters hurl themselves toward the inevitable fates they might rather wish away. Their stories play with magic without the sparkle, glaring at the internal machinations of the human spirit. Fragile symbols for things such as race, sexuality, and love are lifted, decorated, and exposed to scrutiny and awe like so many ruins of our imagination. Through it all Blackburn’s characters stumble along currents of language both thoughtful and hilarious.

The Zoo At Night

Author: Susan Gubernat
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 1496202775
Size: 16.53 MB
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Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Susan Gubernat’s The Zoo at Night reflects with subtle craft on the dark side of love, death, the family romance, carnality, and lofty aspirations. She thinks of her poems as “night thoughts” resembling nocturnes, in which “a bit of light leaks in.” Both experimental and classic, Gubernat’s poems combine formal and free verse elements. A (mostly) unrhymed sonnet sequence seeks to recall the world of a pre-digital childhood when physical objects—tactile, mechanical—took on totemic import and magical significance. Other poems echo the Rilkean principle that poetry can be empathetic by looking outward at the “thingness” of the world. In these works of love and longing, Gubernat enters through the doors of craft and exits with feeling.

Pitching In The Promised Land

Author: Aaron Pribble
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 0803235496
Size: 80.20 MB
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It was the first (and last) season of professional baseball in Israel. Aaron Pribble, twenty-seven, had been out of Minor League Baseball for three years while he pursued a career in education when, at his coach's suggestion, he tried out for the newly formed Israel Baseball League (IBL). Of Jewish descent (not a requirement, but definitely a plus) and former pro, Pribble was the ideal candidate for the upstart league. In many ways the league resembled the ultimate baseball fantasy camp with its unforgettable cast of characters: the DJ/street artist third baseman from the Bronx, the wildman catcher from Australia, the journeymen Dominicans who were much older than they claimed to be, and, of course, seventy-one-year-old Sandy Koufax, drafted in a symbolic gesture as the last player. After falling in love with a beautiful Yemenite Jew, enduring an alleged terrorist attack on opening day, witnessing a career-ending brain injury caused by improper field equipment, participating in a strike, and venturing into the West Bank despite being strongly advised against it, Pribble must decide whether to forgo a teaching career in order to become the first player from the IBL to sign a pro contract in the United States. His is a story of coming of age spiritually and athletically in one short season in the throes of romance, Middle Eastern politics, and the dreams of America's pastime far, far afield from home.