FALL 2012 SELECTION OF THE OREGON BOOK CLUB
"The fine-grained, compassionate observation of everyday behaviors raises the novel’s careful prose to a high level, as we are treated to one shock of recognition after another about the way we live now." --Philip Lopate on Dan DeWeese's You Don't Love this Man
The jacket copy in this book consists of the following: "These stories are about men, women, buildings, and words." DeWeese, the author of the novel You Don't Love This Man (Harper Perennial), offers a collection of eight stories in this book, six of which have been published in well-known literary journals and magazines. His characters--fathers and their children, architects and their critics, writers and their fantasies--search for meaning and identity amid the chaos of contemporary life, in which personal and professional failure often seem just one wrong decision away.
A SIMPLE MACHINE,
LIKE THE LEVER
EVAN P. SCHNEIDER
"...masterfully evokes the simple pleasures--and harsh realities--of keeping to one's ideals in a world where speed is revered and complexity is king." --David Rozgonyi, author of Goat Trees: Tales from the Other Side of the World
Nicholas Allander, 31--carless and careerless--is trying to get his life on track while holding his head high. He's trying to pay off his debt, impress his girlfriend, keep his job, cast off his introversion, and accept the world's imperfections without abandoning his heart. Unsure of what moves to make, though, he considers growing his beard, taking up alcoholism, abandoning scrounging, and owning an automobile--before too much slips by. All the while he clings to his bicycle, a simple machine whose purpose and workings he grasps.
Nick's struggle to position his aesthetic within the world is the story of a perfectionist who is far from perfect, who is considerate but clumsy, and who may be invisible. Like Nick, A Simple Machine, Like the Lever is short, toned, observant, generous, purposeful, and brimming with bicycle wisdom.
NINE SIMPLE PATTERNS FOR COMPLICATED WOMEN
"...witty, provocative, and honest enough to make you gasp. She's the Mary Gaitskill of motherhood." --Karen Karbo, author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel
A woman sewing a dress for her anniversary night out finds herself presiding over her young daughters as they cut apart their own clothes. A four year old boy going earnestly about the business of being a four year old boy is perplexed as to why his behavior seems to have dramatic effects on his mother. An elementary school volunteer learns about a role-playing card game from a young boy, and then sees the roles play out in her own home. College friends and couples reunite for a drink, and find that although their campus couplings are in the past, their sexual competitions are still very much present.
Over the course of these nine stories, Mary Rechner brings a frank, humorous, and ultimately illuminating narrative voice to the subjects of sex, marriage, family, and work. The patient, uncompromising work of a writer who has carefully observed the moments of possibility and peril that appear--and that we often deliberately seek--in the journey from youth to adulthood, Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women signals the arrival of a significant new voice in contemporary fiction.