Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tell Me A Story or Twelve: New Short Stories and Essays
From personal loss to phantom diseases, a bold and brilliant collection, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

A Publishers Weekly Top Ten Essay Collection of Spring 2014

Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about each other? How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other? By confronting pain—real and imagined, her own and others’—Jamison uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel. She draws from her own experiences of illness and bodily injury to engage in an exploration that extends far beyond her life, spanning wide-ranging territory—from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration—in its search for a kind of sight shaped by humility and grace. collection of unforgettable short stories that explore the wondrous transformation between grief and hope, a journey often marked by moments of unexpected grace.

Set in California, Tell Me One Thing and Other Stories is an uplifting and poignant book about people finding their way toward happiness. In "Get Your Dead Man's Clothes," "Irish Twins," and "Aftermath," Jamie O'Connor finally reckons with his tumultuous childhood, which propels him to an unexpected awakening. In "Tell Me One Thing," Lucia's decision to leave her loveless marriage has unintended consequences for her young daughter. In "Sweet Peas," "What We Give," and "The Neighbor," the sudden death of librarian Trudy Dugan's beloved husband forces her out of isolation and prompts her to become more engaged with her community. And in "Wishing," Anna finds an unusual kind of love.

Tell Me One Thing is about the life we can create despite the grief we carry and, sometimes, even because of the grief we have experienced.
Fierce, searing, and darkly comical, Garriga's debut collection of short-short fiction depicts historical and imagined duels, re-envisioning in a flash the competing points of motivation--courage and cowardice, honor and vengeance--that lead individuals to risk it all.
In this compact collection, "settling the score" provides a fascinating apparatus for exploring foundational civilizing ideas. Notions of courage, cowardice, and revenge course through Michael Garriga's flash fiction pieces, each one of which captures a duel's decisive moment from three distinct perspectives: opposing accounts from the individual duelists, followed by the third account of a witness. In razor-honed language, the voices of the duelists take center stage, training a spotlight on the litany of misguided beliefs and perceptions that lead individuals into such conflicts.

From Cain and Abel to Andrew Jackson and Charles Dickenson; from John Henry and the steam drill to an alcoholic fighting the bottle: the cumulative effect of these powerful pieces is a probing and disconcerting look at humankind's long-held notions of pride, honor, vengeance, and satisfaction. Meticulously crafted by Garriga, and with stunning illustrations by Tynan Kerr, The Book of Duels is a unique and remarkable debut.

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