Girls in Peril: A Novella (A Tin House New Voice)

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9780977312726: Girls in Peril: A Novella (A Tin House New Voice)

During a 1970s summer, five adolescent girls learn that peril exists where they never imagined: in their neighborhood and homes; in parents who steal their time and freedom (and, in one case, a thumb); in the pull of the world beyond their friendships; and in their own burgeoning sexuality.

In a sparkling debut, Karen Lee Boren offers an exquisitely rendered coming of age story about adolescent girls in small-town Wisconsin who learn that life’s real perils exist where they never imagined: in their own neighborhoods and homes. During a single summer in the 1970s, five friends while away the hours by torturing the Avon lady, playing four square, jumping rope, swimming, and perfecting the art of sneaking out for night runs to the lake. Then one night the unthinkable happens, forcing the girls into a world beyond childhood and the pull of young friendship.

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About the Author:

Karen Lee Boren received her MFA from Wichita State University and a PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She teaches literature and creative writing at Rhode Island College. Her fiction has appeared in the Florida Review, Night Train, Karamu, Hawai’i PacificReview, and Dominion Review. Her nonfiction has appeared in Cream City Review and the Lonely Planet anthology Rite of Passage: Tales of Backpacking ’Round Europe.

Review:

"The dreamy plural voice that tells this story evokes, perfect pitch, the collective comingled self of American female adolescence. In suburban summer boredom, Boren's girls endear and endanger themselves, playing games with deadly consequences. " -Antonya Nelson, author of Female Trouble "In the vein of Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye or Jeffrey Eugenides' Virgin Suicides, here's a coming-of-age story with a little extra-a feel for the innocent omniscience of children, a stealing sense of dread, and (not least) a mysterious, fetishized third thumb. Boren's tale glows with the luminous hyperreality of nostalgia, without the rosy sentimentality that usually entails." -Peter Ho Davies, author of Equal Love "Karen Lee Boren's novella beautifully differentiates itself by taking us inside that little-known tribe we call girlhood. Who can resist the restless energy, the strength, and the wholeness of these hard-worked midwestern daughters before they individuate into women in this perilous world? Not this reader. I love these girls." -Cathleen Calbert, author of Bad Judgment "The collective voice that drives Karen Lee Boren's first novel is rapturous and steely-eyed at once, and this book beautifully captures the gestures and sensations-huge, tiny, exquisite, and excruciating-of her girls in peril. One is left elated by the power of this story, and marveling at Boren's skill." -Sam Lipsyte, author of Home Land

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