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A debut collection of short fiction includes the author's award-winning story "My Life As a West African Gray Parrot," "He Was a Big Boy, Still Is" about a white public defender counseling the mother of a mentally impaired black defendant, and "Technician," in which an ordinary, unemployed Trenton man is hired a state executioner.
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Leigh Buchanan Bienen has published short fiction in TriQuarterly, The Mississippi Review, Ontario Review, the O. Henry Awards anthology, and elsewhere. An attorney whose areas of expertise include capital punishment, sex crimes, and rape reform legislation, she has published books and articles on these subjects and is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at Northwestern University. The Left-Handed Marriage is her first book of fiction.From Booklist:
The stories of Bienen's first book demonstrate an eye for detail and nuance in human relationships and cultural differences. In the story that lends its title to the collection, a charming and affable, if self-absorbed, lawyer agrees to his wife's suggestion that he take a second, younger wife, who can give him a son. She has dreamy recollections of time spent in Kenya, where she met the European first wife of a Kenyan who thereafter practiced his culture's time-honored tradition of polygamy, in which the European wife managed to thrive, nevertheless. In New York, the story's setting, however, an analogous arrangement fails to satisfy. In another story, a world-weary, cynical account of life and lost affections, an aging parrot notes his latest owner's growing negligence and recalls past relationships and travails. In further stories, the journal of a dance troupe member visiting China reveals telling cultural and personal differences, and the cultural mixture of a seedy gypsy circus in politically turbulent Kampala enables insights into anonymity and emotional confusion. Vanessa Bush
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