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Published Date : July 9, 2013
In the epigraph to this volume, Penelope Fitzgerald tells us: “If a story begins with finding, it must end with searching,” and so we discover each story here to follow the arc of a search, just as each also contains a rescue. What is immediately apparent is that it will be impossible to guess the form this rescue will take or even who it is who’ll require it.
Instead, the astonishingly talented Valerie Trueblood has imbued each story with its own depth and mystery, so rescue comes as a surprise to the reader, who is in intimate sympathy for the soul in extremity. And these are diverse characters whose fates, in lesser hands, might be thought of as hopeless: the fired cop turned security guard, the stolid, 19-year-old nurses’ aide who will not be going to art school, the cynical radio producer who is dying of breast cancer and on a plane on her way to Lourdes.
In these thirteen stories linked by a common transcendent human genius, the writing is confident and clear and original, and often drop-dead stunning, as if the stories are being told by the most casually eloquent among us. Here people expect to be saved and they are saved, sometimes against all odds, not by divine intervention but by other human beings, reminding us how tightly bound we are by earthy bonds of attachment and affection.
VALERIE TRUEBLOOD is the author of the award winning Seven Loves and the extraordinary earlier collection of stories, Marry or Burn. She lives in Seattle.
“The diamond-sharp stories in Trueblood’s second collection dazzle…Trueblood tells these stories from unusual angles, with precision and a depth of insight and empathy that enfold the reader into the characters’ lives.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“[Trueblood] excels at the vignette. ‘Downward Dog,’ ‘The Stabbed Boy’ and ‘Street of Dreams’ are no more than four pages each, and yet they insinuate themselves with a minimum of detail—they resonate . . . Trueblood is a writer to follow.” —Kirkus
“With each story full of wry humor, clearly drawn characters and absolutely exquisite writing, this is one best books of stories I’ve ever read. Valerie Trueblood’s latest collection is united by the theme of earthly redemption: in each someone is saved from what we think of as Fate. Brilliant. Not to be missed.” —Jane Vandenburgh
“There are no easy rescues in Trueblood’s (Marry or Burn, 2010) newest unflinching story collection, yet characters still struggle to be saved despite the obstacles…she piercingly captures glimpses of salvation that remain just out of reach.” —Leah Strauss, Booklist
“Utterly exquisite. An achingly beautiful portrayal of a woman’s life and loves and losses.” —Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge
“Intelligent and beautifully written…as intricate and perfectly constructed as the movement of a fine Swiss watch.” —Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto
“I am in awe of flawless writing that proceeds so quietly and modestly.” —Pamela Grath, Books in Northport Blog
“… a large-hearted, utterly human collection of life-experienced narratives so full that it is difficult to read more than one consecutively.” —Irish Times
“Marry or Burn resolutely probes the idea and range of marriage, letting us gaze at a variety of couplings from differing angles, forming a dangerous, sharp-edged mosaic.” —The Seattle Times
“A panoramic view of contemporary romantic rituals. Bracing honesty and elegant turns of phrase…Trueblood’s saturated prose imparts each story with a unique atmosphere and infuses the collection with an understanding that to love is to live, for better or for worse.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)