Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing: Stories

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9780061724732: Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing: Stories

"Lydia Peelle has given us a collection of stories so artfully constructed and deeply imagined they read like classics. It marks the beginning of what will surely be a long and beautiful career." —Ann Patchett

In Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing, Lydia Peelle brings together eight brilliant stories—two of which won Pushcart Prizes and one of which won an O. Henry Prize—that peer straight into the human heart. In startling and original prose, she examines lives derailed by the loss of a vital connection to the natural world.

Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing conveys an almost Faulknerian ache for the pre-modern South, for a landscape and a way of life lost to the ravages of money and technology.

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“A collection of stories so artfully constructed and deeply imagined they read like classics. It marks the beginning of what will surely be a long and beautiful career.”—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Run

With this first book of fiction, a gifted young  writer brings together eight superbly crafted stories that peer deeply into the human heart, exploring lives derailed by the loss of a vital connection to the land and to the natural world of which they are a part.

“Mule Killers” evokes the end of an era and of a grandfather’s dreams when he decides to replace animal power on his farm with tractors. Two restless young girls in “Sweethearts of the Rodeo” live out their last summer of innocence, riding ponies recklessly and spying on their boss and the wealthy women who visit him. In “Phantom Pain,” the Tennessee woods are a sliver of what they once were, men now hunt with GPS and cell phones, and the rumor of a dangerous panther on the loose stirs up a small town. 

An unexpected vision of the beauty and mystery of life redeems the darkest moments in this stellar debut collection, a book that readers will want to read and reread.

Praise for Lydia Peelle’s Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing

“Lydia Peelle is one of the most exciting new voices in American fiction. These stories surprise and take hold of the reader, all of them elegies for the passing of youth and an era, and the astonishing turns life can take, told in the living idiom of our times.”—Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Brave Enemies

“Lydia Peelle has forged ground of her own with these finely calibrated stories about rural life and the almost atavistic pull certain landscapes exercise on the human psyche. She offers us fresh insight into the meaning of what is feral and what is tame.”—Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

“On my personal list of notable books of the year—of many years. This collection is as wonderful and whole as a night sky full of stars.”—John Casey, author of Spartina

“Expect to meet characters so realistic their shadows will grace your hand as you turn the pages of this dark and beautiful world of Southern writing at its most elegant. I’ve never read a book this good that wasn’t considered a classic.”—Simon Van Booy, author of Love Begins in Winter

About the Author:

Lydia Peelle is the author of the novel The Midnight Cool and the story collection Reasons For and Advantages of Breathing, which received an honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She received her MFA from the University of Virginia and has been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Ucross, Yaddo, and Ragdale. Peelle is a recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an O. Henry Prize, the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" honor, and a Whiting Award, as well as the Anahid Award for Emerging Armenian-American writers. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee. 

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