Reliable Light: Stories (Rutgers Press Fiction)

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9780813515311: Reliable Light: Stories (Rutgers Press Fiction)
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In this collection of seven stories, Steinbach ( Here Lies the Water ) again distinguishes herself as a writer of sensitivity and grace. The effect is of real voices and real situations, portrayed with scrupulous fidelity to human nature. In robustly simple and direct prose, Steinbach introduces characters who range from an old woman in a nursing home to a black doctor in a New England village. In "To Be Sung on the Water," a woman visiting her mother's grave with her sister and young nephew is dismayed to find it sunken and filled with water. The boy's question, "Why is your mama sleeping in that little lake?" helps bring the protagonist to a moment of transcendent understanding. "In Recent History" observes the people whose lives have been profoundly affected by one man's experience in Vietnam, which he is tragically compelled to recreate. In the aftermath, the narrator occasionally glimpses the man and thinks, "How strange and painful to see his face, as if he had not one terrible secret moment in his heart." Constructed with a quiet and effective craftsmanship, these tales range in tone from comic to tragic, displaying the diversity of Steinbach's interests and themes.Publishers Weekly

These dark and disturbing stories are about people who can't seem to find a source of reliable light in their own lives. Men ask for blind faith from women, who usually decline to give it. There is an underlying quality of tragedy, helplessness, and almost overwhelming despair in even the happiest of these tales. The stories vary in length from vignette to novella and incorporate a wide variety of writing styles: the first of the seven stories, told by a French woman living in Chicago, reads as if translated from the French; another uses a stream-of-consciousness mode. Steinbach is skilled in evoking pictures of people, surroundings, and situations shrouded in murky, almost subterranean gloom. Recommended in small doses.Library Journal

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About the Author:

Biography
Meredith Steinbach is the author of novels and collections of fiction: The Charmed Life of Flowers: Field Notes from Provence (Winner of the International General Fiction Category at the 2013 Paris Book Festival), Zara, Here Lies The Water, The Birth of the World as We Know It; or, Teiresias, Reliable Light, and Beata Rustica: The Tale of the Would-Be Saint (forthcoming, 2013); one play: In the Realm of Which There is No Sign; and a number of works in progress. Prizes and honors have included 2013, Paris Book Festival, Best of General Fiction Category; New England Book Festival, Honorable Mention, General Fiction Category; O. Henry Award for the Short Story; Bunting Fellowship at Harvard-Radcliffe; 100 Distinguished Stories, Best American Short Stories; National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship; Pushcart Prize for the Short Story, Travel Grant from the Thomas J. Watson Institute for research in France and Greece; Rhode Island State Artist's Grants, among others. Meredith Steinbach lives with her family in a sea captain's cottage on the Rhode Island coast and is Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University.

From Library Journal:

These dark and disturbing stories are about people who can't seem to find a source of reliable light in their own lives. Men ask for blind faith from women, who usually decline to give it. There is an underlying quality of tragedy, helplessness, and almost overwhelming despair in even the happiest of these tales. The stories vary in length from vignette to novella and incorporate a wide variety of writing styles: the first of the seven stories, told by a French woman living in Chicago, reads as if translated from the French; another uses a stream-of-consciousness mode. Steinbach is skilled in evoking pictures of people, surroundings, and situations shrouded in murky, almost subterranean gloom. Recommended in small doses.
- Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Connecticut at Torrington Lib.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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