Three collections you may want to put on your reading list this summer:
“There Are Jews In My House,” by Lara Vapnyar gives us the stories of Russian people both in Russia and elsewhere. The title story was for me, the strongest, with a sharp eye for human nature: Galina agrees to hide her Jewish friend and her daughter during the war. She soon grows resentful and she is confronted with her own fears, weaknesses, and prejudices.
“Last Night,” by James Salter offers ten sexy stories about people feeling their way through relationships. Salter is a master at creating dialogue that intrigues. He makes every word count and his sentences are nothing short of gorgeous. Michael Dirda of the Washington Post says “Salter is the contemporary writer most admired and envied by other writers…He can, when he wants, break your heart with a sentence."
“The Apple’s Bruise,” by Lisa Glatt is my favorite of the three. Each of the twelve stories is as strong and rich as the next. “In Dirty Hannah Gets Hit by a Car,” a young girl who is picked on by the girl who walks with her to school and who endures the gradual meltdown of her parents’ marriage is hit by a car on the way to school. In “The Body Shop,” a woman’s husband carries a stripper off stage on his back; in “Soup,” a mother finds herself attracted to the rough kid her son has begun hanging around; and in “Eggs,” a woman has a long distance affair with another professor and is confronted by an unruly student. "Grip" was the most haunting story for me, focusing on the narcissism of a couple resulting in their literal disregard and discard of their only child. Glatt’s ability to render complexities of relationships and deliver a satisfying end to the tension in her stories is amazing. This is certainly one of the strongest collections I’ve read this year and will go on my shelf of favorites.
- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.