The Summer Before the Summer of Love: Stories

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9780060172541: The Summer Before the Summer of Love: Stories

A collection of stories by the author of Monogamy follows themes of family relationships and disappointment, presenting a realistic observation of the dynamics among spouses, siblings, and parents and children.

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From the Publisher:

The stories in The Summer Before the Summer of Love seductively combine a sense of life's barren sorrow with a sensual fullness. Marly Swick is consistently original and unflinching in her observations of the dynamics that develop between friends and lovers, parents and children, husbands and wives. The Summer Before the Summer of Love contains a startling range of human experience, but each story in its way gives us characters who are grappling with disappointment and loss.

In "The Other Widow", a grieving mistress meets her deceased lover's wife; in "Crete", a woman who once escaped a grisly murder now finds herself struggling with the death of her daughter, and the fear that her baby's life was taken because her own had been spared; in the title story, a girl takes a road trip to a Beatles concert with her mother and sister, and faces the difficult emotional balancing act posed by her parents' recent separation.

One of Swick's great distinctions is the way she evokes each character's struggle to become whole again in a style that is as exquisite as it is unsentimental. Few writers are able to write about their characters so warmly or intimately. Fewer still can create a truer sense of the way people really do live, and love -- and do so with such grace, intelligence and humor.

About the Author:

Born in Indianapolis in 1949, Marly Swick spent her childhood moving -- from Massachusetts to Delaware to California -- with book in hand, due to a voracious appetite for reading encouraged by her mother and teachers. She continued her travels and her love for books during her education, receiving her BA from Stanford University, her MA from Mills College, her Ph.D. from the American University, and finally, her MFA at the Iowa Writer's Workshop.

Swick is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a James Michener Award, and an O. Henry Award. Her first book received the Iowa Short Fiction Award. Her stories have appeared in numerous publications, among them The Atlantic, Redbook, and The North American Review. She has just written her first novel, Paper Wings.

Upholding a self-professed "Victorian lifestyle in the 90s," Marly Swick enjoys painting and reading in her spare time. She is currently an Associate Professor of Fiction Writing at the University of Nebraska and lives in Lincoln.

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