American Innovations: Stories by Rivka Galchen

rivkagalchencoverAmerican Innovations: Stories by Rivka Galchen.

Readers who like stories about odd characters who find themselves in strange situations, will love this new collection by Rivka Galchen.

As strange as the characters are, though, it’s easy to relate to them.Who hasn’t felt what this character in “The Lost Order” feels so keenly?

“But one day I woke up and heard myself saying, I am a fork being used to eat cereal. I am not a spoon. I am a fork. And I can’t help people eat cereal any longer.”
After a strange caller angrily denounces her for a missing Chinese take-out order, the narrator of “The Lost Order,” comes to some startling conclusions about her marriage and herself.

“The Region of Unlikeness,” is about another lost soul who befriends two eccentric intellectuals at a coffee shop. She is secretly attracted to one of them and repelled by the other.

“American Innovations” bravely tackles magical realism, body image, and deformity.

“Wild Berry Blue,” is a wonderful coming-of-age story about a girl who has a crush on an ex-junkie who works at her favorite McDonalds.

In one story, “Once Upon an Empire,” a likable but possibly deranged narrator, loses all of her belongings. No one steals them; instead, in a magical realism way, they become mobile and literally walk away from her apartment.

She finds them in a dumpster but is reluctant to identify them to the police.

Less successful stories included in this collection are “Dean of the Arts” or “The Late Novels of Gene Hackman.”

Galchen’s collection was long-listed for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

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The Chaos

  • The Chaos The Chaos Seeks Creative Nonfiction for Summer 2017 Issue
  • Deadline: June 15, 2017

The Chaos is an online journal of creative nonfiction. We’re seeking submissions for our summer 2017 issue from emerging and established writers. We are drawn to narrative, personal essays rooted in scene. Show, don’t tell. Send us your best work. 500-7000 words. Visit our website for additional guidelines and to submit: www.thechaos.life.

Originally posted in http://www.NewPages.com

Audiobooks all summer long

Download free audiobooks all summer long via SYNC

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Encourage summer listening at your library! SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+ (and adult listeners, too!). From April 27 through August 16, 2017, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads each week, including four outstanding Listening Library titles! Visit www.audiobooksync.com each week for two new audio offerings. Once downloaded, these audios are yours to keep—but hurry, each title is available for one week only!

We Are Completely Beside Ourselves

In Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, the narrator begins in media res.

Rosemary is a well-educated, unreliable narrator. She tells readers she is in mourning because her sister disappeared seventeen years ago and her brother disappeared ten years ago.

In no way is We Are Completely Beside Ourselves a typical missing person story. There’s a lot more at play. Rosemary’s brother is a domestic terrorist and Rosemary’s sister is a chimpanzee for starters. Her father is a psychologist who is keen on treating his children like the psychological subjects he is studying.

Tragic and compelling, this novel explores many tantalizing subjects such as the fallibility of memory, the notion of humanity, and the debilitating effect of family secrets.

For another book about a family’s misadventures in animal experimentation, try We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge.  

History of Wolves by Emily Frilund

historyofwolvesFor a coming-of-age story that transcends genre, read Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves.

One of the central questions in this tale is culpability.

“What’s the difference between what you want to believe and what you do?…And what’s the difference between what you think and what you end up doing,” Madeleine wonders.

She’s a kid surrounded by adults–her parents, Mr. Grierson, the Gardners who shirk their duties and blame others for mistakes they make.

The worst offender is probably Patra who blames illogically blames Madeleine for the death of her four-year-old.

Then there’s Mr. Grierson, her teacher, who is reprehensible but not guilt of what Lily and the police charge him with. Madeleine tracks him to Florida after he gets out of prison. She writes letters to him reminding him but  he seems to have forgotten her.

Though Madeleine is expert at hiking and traversing the streams the woods, she is less expert at deciphering social cues or understanding human relationships. Perhaps that is why she is fascinated by Patra and Leo’s strange relationship.

However capable she is at wilderness survival, Madeleine is strangely powerless when faced  with Leo’s religious obsession or Lily’s duplicity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shirley Jackson

shirleyjackson

 “So long as you write it away regularly nothing can really hurt you.”  Shirley Jackson.

I think this is why so many writer do what they do. Writing is a snapshot of a particular time, often painful, but sometimes joyful. It’s a memory, a recording, that makes the ordinary details of life extraordinary.