Rosalie Morales Kearns Virgins & Tricksters

ISBN 13: 9780988383708

Virgins & Tricksters

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( 8 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780988383708: Virgins & Tricksters

These quirky, exuberant stories, one of which earned a Special Mention in the 2013 Pushcart Prize volume, range from the Caribbean to small-town Pennsylvania to a post-apocalyptic state forest. A noted psychologist and lifelong religious skeptic is scolded by tiny statues of the Virgin Mary. Remedios, a recent college graduate, explores the Afro-Puerto Rican spirituality of her grandparents and discovers a history book that is writing itself. Dissident geologist Pilar Quiñones is shut out of a shelter during a bio-chemical attack and winds up in a forest presided over by a joyful Devil. In the story cycle "The Wives," we hear from the exiled ex-wife of a 20th-century revolutionary-turned-dictator, the abandoned wife of an 18th-century pirate, the restless wife of a 10th-century priest, and the deposed, indignant wife of God himself. Veering between the realistic and the fabulist, these tales might best be described as whimsical-realist or magic-absurdist. A number of them have been published in literary journals such as Witness, Painted Bride Quarterly, Natural Bridge, Terrain, Specs, Segue, and Fringe.

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About the Author:

Rosalie Morales Kearns, a writer of Puerto Rican and Pennsylvania Dutch descent, is the author of the short story collection Virgins and Tricksters (Aqueous, 2012). One of the stories in the collection earned a Special Mention in the 2013 Pushcart Prize volume. She has recently completed a novel, Kingdom of Women, which focuses on a female Roman Catholic priest in an alternative near-future. Rosalie is the founder of Shade Mountain Press, a new small press whose focus is literary fiction by women.

Review:

The stories . . . percolate, gaining urgency and surprising us bit by bit, . . . satisfying because we often arrive somewhere unexpected yet earned. . . . Kearns writes stories you pull a chair up to, you lean in close to hear. . . . Yet, it's not that the stories are comfortable--these worlds of virgins, tricksters, wives, daughters--are fraught with complication and searching. Nor do they lack surprise: by blending precise realism with wild magic, Kearns subverts our expectations in subtle yet astounding ways. -- Small Press Book Review

Kearns ties the pieces together with the common thread of spirituality. Her characters find it, lose it, research it, and try to rebel against it. Everyone believes in something, even if it's that "we danced ourselves into existence" . . . or that there is a truth out there, an "answer to something that was so true you couldn't breathe, so true it made you want to cry." . . . We can't say what is or isn't God, but we have stories. . . . Kearns cleverly gets you to think, to feel, to question, to try to find meaning in everyday occurrences, for there is meaning in everything.--jmww

Rosalie Morales Kearns' collection Virgins & Tricksters is full of succinct, smart tales rooted in and rooting around in a female-centered spirituality. Far from abstract, they are rich and strong characters and vivid particulars. A granddaughter explores the African roots of Puerto Rican santeria; we hear from God's wife and the wife of a pirate. Magic and folklore pop out of everyday encounters. --Marge Piercy, author of 17 novels, including New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers

Virgins and Tricksters by Rosalie Morales Kearns, brims with color and kinetic power, with black raspberries, understory elms, Cassius Blue butterflies. Pirates leap out of a book to gorge on lemons. But solitude and yearning play out against this replete backdrop, and even magic and religion offer no cure: A woman fears but misses her revered, revolutionary husband; a little girl is startled that she won't be ordained a priest. After a sexual encounter he knows won't go beyond his memories, a boy watches a mechanical fortuneteller improvise human gestures. Everyone is caught gently off-guard by dreams at war with our world of rituals and of fossilizing bones, whether dinosaur or human, whether hidden in history or inside a recent photograph. "The Associated Virgins," a humorous gem, offers the cry: "What Alfred Kinsey did with sex, Elihu Wingate wants to do with--what?" An expert on consumer impulses, Elihu lives in an empty house until his parents and remarried ex-wife move in, and a battalion of pushy Virgin Mary statues demands a grotto. Hovering is a longing for a woman met during a distant flight. If regret spikes this poignant tale, the anchor piece, "Triptych," is antidote: It's a little masterpiece of carefully observed lives - Larry with breathtakingly long hair emerges as one of the most memorable characters a reader can hope to find - and when divergent paths merge, the book concludes with a satisfying upsweep: Solitary beings settle inside mystery. Virgins and Tricksters contains the line "water and a pinch of salt, this is what we're made of," but it also points at the byways where connection can unleash aché, the vital life force, present in everything. --Katherine Vaz, author of Saudade, Mariana, Fado & Other Stories, and Our Lady of the Artichokes

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