Contents Under Pressure

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9781940120829: Contents Under Pressure

In this collection of eleven short stories, Ellen Prentiss Campbell explores loss and yearning, hope and fear, and the tension between imagination, memory, and reality. She takes her characters and readers to moments when the boundary between past and present crumbles. Campbell uncovers drama and mystery beneath the surface of daily life: a young mother struggles with grief on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis; a child tries to understand her father's madness; an elderly woman prepares to sell the inn that has been her life's work. Campbell, a practicing psychotherapist, brings the art of listening for the unspoken, and expressing the unspeakable, to these pages.

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About the Author:

Ellen Prentiss Campbell's short fiction has appeared in journals including The Massachusetts Review, The Fourth River, and The Potomac Review. Her debut novel, The Bowl with Gold Seams, will be released in May 2016 (Apprentice House Press). Contents Under Pressure was nominated by The Broadkill River Press for The National Book Award. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Review:

Contents Under Pressure is a beautiful story collection by a writer whose wisdom and compassion illuminate every page. Ellen Prentiss Campbell understands how her vividly drawn characters can love and hurt each other simultaneously, and she probes into the recesses of their hearts. Altogether a pleasure to read. --Author Lynne Sharon Schwartz

Contents Under Pressure is an aptly named book, indeed. These stories crackle with tension, delivered in language with the concision and precision of poetry. Never predictable, always insightful, and often breathtakingly acute, Campbell is a writer to watch. --Rose Solari, author of The Lost Girl

The strange and the unexpected play powerful roles in Ellen Prentiss Campbell's haunting stories of transformation. The characters' dilemmas -- a foundering marriage, a child's death, a father's madness -- are not so much resolved at the story's end as they are given surprising new forms. In one, an amazing tour de force, a young woman drawn to the underwater world is transformed into a mermaid. Campbell's precise, elegant prose renders her gift for the uncanny both believable and a wonderful read. --Kate Blackwell, author of You Won't Remember This

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