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Paperback Large Animals in Everyday Life: Stories Book

ISBN: 0820334227

ISBN13: 9780820334226

Large Animals in Everyday Life: Stories

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Format: Paperback

Condition: New

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Book Overview

I like animals and I like men begins the hopelessly-in-love narrator of The Round Bar, who follows her married country singer to Nashville in her own version of a down-and-out song. In The Oysters,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

1 rating

A wonderous exploration of the human condition.

Review written by Ron McGuire, Though the phrase "never judge a book by its cover" is an overworked cliche', it is, like most, absolutely true. Especially when applied to the new collection of short stories, Large Animals in Everyday Life by Wendy Brenner. Don't be fooled by the day-glow daisies and cute photo on the pastel pink cover. This collection, by the winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, is a tough-as-nails exploration of the heartaches and minor miracles of the human condition. Brenner's stories are set in mundane places and populated by an assortment of slightly neurotic men and women. All are bound up in everyday struggles and little victories that only they know and understand, but are somehow a part of everyone's life. Characters like the prematurely washed-up young artist, whose unhealthy obsession for a married country & western singer leads to a bizarre menage in a Nashville hotel room. Or the lonely, insecure woman who chances to meet the older man who will teach her, through his absolute nonchalance, how to see life as one small miracle after another. But not all of her characters are people. Brenner brings even the lowly oyster to life in order to ponder the meaning of existence. Her stories, as the title implies, are populated with a menagerie of animals, big and small - each in their own way trying to help the hapless people that surround them. There is the horse that nearly crushes a young woman, but in so doing delivers to her the man of her dreams. Or the strawberries that contribute their lives to the science od irradiation only to grow resentful of the fact that they are never considered to be alive in the first place. These creatures that haunt her stories help illuminate the struggles, triumphs, and failures of their human counterparts and caretakers, and bring meaning and understanding to seemingly empty lives. Brenner is a versatile writer whose characters and settings vary widely, but her stories in this collection have a continuity of voice that binds them together. Just when a situation seems predictable, events and actions occur which propel the story in a new direction. Her characters are always searching, always wanting more from life, but all too often afraid to take the risks necessary to make any meaningful gains. Like the little girl so obsessively afraid of everything, keeping her parents and grandparents constantly in orbit around her as they try to see and not see the little bits of themselves alive in her. Or the young woman fleeing an abusive relationship, remembering bits and pieces of her life and wondering how it ever went so wrong. And there is the young man fighting to fit in and succeeding only in alienating everyone he meets, leaving him to crash through life alone and only partially aware of the living going on all around him. Brenner's stories are f
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