Family Terrorists

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( 80 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780395686799: Family Terrorists

The author of The Expendables uses her short fiction to explore the various acts of emotional blackmail that can undermine family stability and keep old antagonisms alive. Tour.

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About the Author:

Antonya Nelson is the author of three short story collections, The Expendables , which received the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction, In the Land of Men , and Family Terrorists . She has won numerous awards and grants, including the PEN/Nelson Algren Award, three PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards, and the Mademoiselle Short Fiction Prize. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Mademoiselle, and Redbook as well as various literary magazines. She lives in New Mexico and Colorado with her husband, the writer Robert Boswell, and their two children.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Seven stories (two of them award-winners, ``Naked Ladies'' in Best American, ``Dirty Words'' in O. Henry) and a novella, done up in a kind of flip realism that subjects relationships to breezy examination. Nelson (In the Land of Men, 1992) writes in a popular ``conversational'' style, immediately establishing a friendly tone (``Though his head was larger than his body, his brain seemed unquestionably smaller''--referring to a Scottie dog) as if she were introducing herself to a new neighbor or co-worker. A natural storyteller, she's out to amuse and instruct, but she's at her best when inserting a catch in the narrative voice at moments of introspection nobody saw coming, moments heightened by deft or penetrating description: a father's nearly useless legs being lifted and tucked into a car by a daughter; the faces of people in an ice-cream store during a tornado (``Icy green and ghostly, when the lightning cracked,'' then ``gone, like the switched-off image of a television''). The charm lies in Nelson's ability to describe people and events in a few words, family history in a paragraph, and to offer observations that readers can readily identify with: ``When she was high ordinarily unfunny things made her giggle.'' This is good-natured and hard to resist, but it also relies on ``quirkiness'' as a way of making inexplicable people seem understandable. The tendency is toward glib reductions of mysteries and suggestions of depth rather than depth itself. The New Yorker eats this stuff up; readers will find Nelson either enchanting or boring. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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