In 14 original stories, Jane McCafferty illuminates modern life weaving her love of music throughout the lives and stories of her characters. From two middle-aged strangers who meet in an empty baseball stadium during a rainstorm, to a 23-year-old man who brings his 62-year-old wife home to meet his parents, to a young couple who live next door to an unemployed clown and his wife, these stories are at one unexpected and enthralling.
This collection of short stories, linked by the theme of music, is a gorgeous follow-up to One Heart, award-winning writer Jane McCafferty’s critically acclaimed debut novel.
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Jane McCafferty is the author of the novel One Heart and two collections of stories, Thank You for the Music and Director of the World and Other Stories, which won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. She is the recipient of an NEA award, the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. She lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.From Publishers Weekly:
Like a favorite old mix tape, McCafferty's collection of 14 stories tugs at the heartstrings and illuminates life's pivotal moments. In "Family on Ice," a spunky X-ray technician longs for a divorced man who's smitten with their mutual friend; at a Christmas party, she - a self-proclaimed "third wheel" - finds quiet companionship with a self-proclaimed "family bum." In "Guiding Light," a young girl convinces her seemingly closed-minded mother (whose musical taste stops at Burt Bacharach) to let her take piano lessons with their new neighbor, "a mixture of a nun and an artsy-fartsy." Twenty-five-year-old Griffin shocks his parents by bringing home a 60-year-old veterinarian bride in "Berna's Place"; as his parents slowly warm up to Berna, they also begin to reassess their own marriage. Under the influence of loneliness (and some newly prescribed Paxil), the father in "Light of Lucy" contemplates shouting to a parking lot full of parents waiting for their children, "Do you not grasp that life could be more like the movies if only you got out of your stupid car and opened your heart?" Before long, he finds himself sharing the front seat with a vibrant woman who bears a striking resemblance to the late, great Lucille Ball. Though some character types seem a bit overplayed, McCafferty (One Heart) offers tales as down-to-earth as the Bruce Springsteen tunes that unite a lonely woman with a young boy from the other side of the tracks in "Dear Mr. Springsteen," and as irresistible as any pop song.
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