Julie Schumacher An Explanation for Chaos

ISBN 13: 9780380730506

An Explanation for Chaos

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9780380730506: An Explanation for Chaos
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: A mother's imminent death bizarrely reorders a family's dynamics...A cruel prank perpetrated by two little girls on a classmate alters their three lives in unexpected ways...A daughter struggles to explain a troubled relationship with her father, an obsessive scientist whom she simultaneously resents and adores...These are three of the nine remarkable stories by acclaimed author Julie Schumacher that appear in this marvelous new collection. Here is short fiction that offers poignant and unforgettable views of the disordered, unpredictable world of parents and children, sisters and brothers. There are two O'Henry Award-winners in AN EXPLANATION FOR CHAOS, one of which was included in Best American Short Stories. From out of the painful cacophonies of youth and family emerge cries of despair and declaration of hope--angry defiance and harsh, piercing laughter--in a startling and intensely beautiful exploration of the chaos that is life from one of the most original and exciting voices in contemporary American literature.

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About the Author:

Julie Schumacher is the author of the short story collection AN EXPLANATION FOR CHAOS. Her debut novel, THE BODY IS WATER, was a finalist for the 1996 Earnest Hemingway foundation/PEN Award for First Fiction and an ALA Notable Book of the Year. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories and in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards anthology, as well as the Atlantic Monthly and other publications. Ms. Schumacher is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Minnesota and lives with her family in St. Paul.

From Kirkus Reviews:

In spite of periodic slumps into the hyper-familiar, stories from novelist Schumacher (The Body is Water, 1995) are also capable of ascending to the unusually intelligent, confident, and moving. Girlfriends in junior high find out--some--about the awe, mystery, and danger of sex when their new music teacher, Mr. Zinn, begins preying on one of them (``The Private Life of Robert Schumann''), and if the story's tone flirts with that of a girls' YA (12 and up), its ending and expertness in the telling rise much higher. The same is true of ``Levitation,'' a slumber-party story about glib-tongued girls picking on an ugly duckling--but with an ending that sips straight from the cup of the muse. ``Dummies''--two sisters and a retarded brother are taken in by an eccentric woman when their own mother is in the hospital--sure-footedly gains a momentum that fully earns its quietly philosophic ending (``Generally I have found that the future is useless. It doesn't help; at times it may as well not exist''). ``Dividing Madelyn'' is an amusing Eloise-like story of manners but not a deep one (a pre-puberty girl likes it better when her parents remain separate than when they reunite), while ``Infertility'' (about a childless couple) remains too cool to summon a reader's heart in spite of its mastery in detail. ``Rehoboth Beach,'' however, a summertime story of sisters coming of age (or failing to), sculpts entire lives and places without a misstep; ``Telling Uncle R'' does the same while winsomely scooping up big helpings of lost history; and the title story--a woman remembers her father--dares to present itself in a Q&A format and does so brilliantly. Tuning one moment into the frequency of Flannery O'Connor, another into that of J. D. Salinger, Schumacher nevertheless shows the rare true strength of a voice in fiction that could become its very own. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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ISBN 10:  1569470707 ISBN 13:  9781569470701
Publisher: Soho Pr Inc, 1997
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