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Some fun : stories and a novella
Antonya Nelson
Adult Fiction NELSON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Adults consider but rarely do the right thing, while damaged children instinctively persevere in Nelson's skillful collection of seven stories and a novella, set in wide-open, arid Western states. Growing restless and resentful in her middle age, the mother in the poignant first story, "Dick," uproots her reluctant family from Los Angeles to Colorado, separating her 11-year-old son from his best friend, the title character, with tragic results. Nelson shapes several stories around hard-drinking, restless women, as in "Rear View," about a 33-year-old Colorado woman who tries to get pregnant by either her hospitalized, mentally ill husband, or another lover, hoping a baby will solve the "jittery limbo" of her life. In the bleak, episodic title novella, a mother's alcoholism corrodes her family, including 15-year-old Claire, shouldered with adult responsibilities, six-year-old taciturn Sam, four-year-old Beano, still in diapers, and the children's father, who abandons them all for a yoga teacher. Though Nelson captures Claire's sad co-dependency and truncated adolescence, she reaches for too many resonant metaphors in her closely observed details-vultures roosting in the family's El Paso, Tex., backyard, skin cancer marring the father's face. While not every story achieves perfect pitch, Nelson again (Female Trouble) shows empathy for psychologically complex, deeply flawed characters. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In this collection, Nelson, an accomplished novelist and short story writer who appears on The New Yorker's "List of 20 Writers for the 21st Century," portrays the angst and edginess of contemporary family life. Particularly compelling are the stories "Dick," told from the perspective of a 12-year-old runaway's best friend's family, whose move from the neighborhood may have triggered the boy's disappearance, and "Eminent Domain," in which a teenage girl tries out life on the street as a tribute to her big sister. In both stories, as throughout the collection, Nelson turns conventional thinking on its head and carefully readjusts its perspective toward the unexpected. It is this clever shape-shifting that will have readers turning back to the very first page for a second go at Nelson's dense and complex work. While it is Nelson's narrative that compels, her carefully chosen words and thoughtfully constructed characters truly enrich these stories. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/05.]-Caroline M. Hallsworth, City of Greater Sudbury, Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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