Some of Her Friends That Year: New and Selected St

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9781566891271: Some of Her Friends That Year: New and Selected St

Highly regarded for her deft and humorous portrayals of the dark side of modern living, Maxine Chernoff’s latest collection is a droll, poetic field guide to the endearing and troubling aspects of human behavior. Chernoff fans will relish the sixteen new stories, and new readers will discover a wonderful assemblage of Chernoff’s likeable and contemplative characters. Chernoff continues to establish herself as a master of the short story genre with this excellent collection.

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About the Author:

Born in Chicago in 1952, Maxine Chernoff has published several collections of poems, short stories, and novels, including American Heaven and A Boy in Winter. The winner of a PEN Fiction Award, she and her husband, the poet Paul Hoover, edit the long-running literary journal New American Writing. Chernoff is chair of the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University.

From Publishers Weekly:

Poet and novelist Chernoff infuses this collection (15 new stories plus selections from Bop and Signs of Devotion) alternately with hope and resignation, and a touch of the macabre. People with homes, dogs, kids, cancer, lovers and nightmares demonstrate an extraordinary breadth of emotions, but Chernoff is most successful in depicting sarcastic, jaded women. The suspicions of Tammy Conway in "Onto the Past" highlight Chernoff's talent for caustic observation that camouflages vulnerability: "Probably Holly had a rich husband in the wine trade or a dead husband with a trust fund. Maybe [she] was a member of a feminist coven whose mission was to shame and expose ordinary people," Tammy says of her husband's mistress. "Acts of Nature" and "That Summer" feature dead men whose lovers' lives are defined by the weight of sorrow and the burden of memories. Russian immigrant Oleg Lum appears in two stories and fumbles through both with heavily stylized dialect that detracts from his philosophical views on wealth, trust and loss. "Snowflake Come Home" is a vague meditation on a missing and possibly decapitated cockatiel barely a story, yet a fine example of Chernoff's episodic musings on life and death. The title story is even more so, consisting of 12 vignettes that illuminate characters in a few lines where other writers need a few pages. Endings are Chernoff's friend and foe. Some ("Death Swap," "Jeopardy") leave you wishing for more of her understated wisdom, and others ("November," "Enough") show a penchant for surrealism that can obscure her otherwise tightly crafted, expertly ironic tales.

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