Blood and Milk

Overview


Sharon Solwitz's literary prizes include a Pushcart Prize, the Dan Curley Award, the Tara Fellowship in Short Fiction (from the Heekin Foundation), the Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize, the Nelson Algren Prize (three times), the Hemmingway Days Festival Prize, as well as awards and fellowships from the Kansas and Illinois Arts Councils. Her fiction has appeared in magazines like Mademoisclle, Ploughshares, American Short Fiction, and TriQuarterly. One of her stories was dramatized in the Stories-on-Stage ...
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1997 Hardcover lt shelf wear...Book Is New! Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 238 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview


Sharon Solwitz's literary prizes include a Pushcart Prize, the Dan Curley Award, the Tara Fellowship in Short Fiction (from the Heekin Foundation), the Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize, the Nelson Algren Prize (three times), the Hemmingway Days Festival Prize, as well as awards and fellowships from the Kansas and Illinois Arts Councils. Her fiction has appeared in magazines like Mademoisclle, Ploughshares, American Short Fiction, and TriQuarterly. One of her stories was dramatized in the Stories-on-Stage series at the Organic Theater in Chicago. Another was selected for radio broadcast in the "Sound of Writing" series. She currently teaches creative writing at Loyola University in Chicago and to public-school students as an Artist-in-Education, She edits Another Chicago Magazines with her husband, poet Barry Silesky, and takes care of their ten-year-old twin boys.

"Like emotional spelunkers, the women in Sharon Solwitz's first collection of stories tirelessly explore the dark corners of their personal relationships, bravely feeling their way along the unlighted passageways connecting husbands, wives, lovers, parents, and children. A flair for dark comedy and the ability to turn on a dime are prized qualities for these unpredictable characters; time and again, their intrepid investigations lead them into uncharted territory where bizarre dramatic action seems to be the only possible move. Solwitz's fine-toothed examinations of complex emotional states are dead on, and she has a sharp eye for details. . . . Keeping her narratives at a steady simmer, she ponders the mysteries of human intimacy, turning up the flame at the last minute for a sudden blast of revelatory action. . . . [T]he results are absorbing, a well-wrought reminder that no matter how peculiar the circumstances, we all have more in common than we think."-The New York Times Book Review

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
Sharon Solwitzs stunning first collection of short stories, Blood and Milk, has a three-dimensional quality. Her characters jump out at you, . . . act out their dramas and comedies on the streets and in the apartments of a believable world. The texture of setting is skillfully intertwined with the dramatic action of the plot. . . . Solwitz is a beautiful stylist and a creator of fresh and funny characters, but she also knows how to use the organization of events to reveal the mystery at the heart of her characters lives. . . . Although all the stories in Blood and Milk stand alone, theres a humane, sympathetic vision here that links one story to another. And despite its serious themes, this is a very funny book.
Chicago Magazine
The coeditor of Another Chicago Magazines first fiction collection explores urban alienation with bone-dry humor. Solwitz often blends the two, as when a Wrigleyville resident delivers the classic Cub fans lament: Its not victory were after. Its watching them play almost well enough to win, then making fun of them and yourself for getting sucked into hoping!
Chicago Books in Review
Solwitz is a powerful storyteller. Her characters are so intriguing, and at the same time so human, that it is impossible not to be drawn into their world. Without a self-conscious attempt to be profound, her stories reach a height of poetic truth.
San Francisco Bay Guardian
Sharon Solwitzs first collection of short stories entertains, provokes, and haunts. . . . Readers wishing to race through the stories and simply enjoy them for their narrative style will be satisfied. Those who spend a little more time analyzing the recurring elements will find even more pleasure.
The New York Times Book Review
Like emotional spelunkers, the women in Sharon Solwitzs first collection of stories tirelessly explore the dark corners of their personal relationships, bravely feeling their way along the unlighted passageways connecting husbands, wives, lovers, parents, and children. A flair for dark comedy and the ability to turn on a dime are prized qualities for these unpredictable characters; time and again, their intrepid investigations lead them into uncharted territory where bizarre dramatic action seems to be the only possible move. Solwitzs fine-toothed examinations of complex emotional states are dead on, and she has a sharp eye for details. . . . Keeping her narratives at a steady simmer, she ponders the mysteries of human intimacy, turning up the flame at the last minute for a sudden blast of revelatory action. . . . The results are absorbing, a well-wrought reminder that no matter how peculiar the circumstances, we all have more in common than we think.
Fodder
he characters, mostly women with plenty of shortcomings, seem utterly human and charming, because the author is so passionate about making us recognize and care for them as she does.
New City, Chicago
Her brand new short story collection is every bit as elemental and unnerving as its yin-yang title implies. Keenly attuned to the trauma of derailed relationships, cultural displacement and the howling void of loneliness, Solwitz produces polished-to-perfection stories that take you places youve never been before.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Women who are prickly, sharp-witted and high-strung, who tend to quip about their emotional pain and to act self-destructively, are the protagonists of the 11 fine short stories in Solwitz's first collection. Most of these women are Jewish; several are married to all-American gentiles who rarely understand the sources of their wives' restlessness and erratic behavior; some are parents of little boys who both nourish and frazzle them. Most achieve insights the hard wayafter independent, even rash actions that sometimes bring pain. In "Milk," Debra's knife-sharp determination to care for her twin sons prompts her to dance in a strip club called Les Girls, where she ultimately erupts in anger at all men. In "Editing," Mimi forswears love after following her husband to India while he pursues his goal of becoming a guru; when she finally gets in touch with her feelings, she is "strengthened by rage." Dvora, a Jewish Israeli woman who foolishly chooses to accompany her husband to Baghdad, reacts with reckless spirit but finally, it can be seen, is driven mad. Because all her characters live at extremes, function at high pitch and often behave rashly, reading this collection at one sitting can be enervating. One tends to forgive Solwitz for her characters' excesses, however, because she renders them with such vitality. Solwitz is the recipient of several literary prizes, including the Dan Curley award and the Pushcart Prize. (May)
Library Journal
Being an outsider looking in, a stranger in a strange land is never an easy situation. For many of the characters in three-time Nelson Algren winner Solwitz's first book of stories, being an outsider rises to an art form. Nowhere is this more starkly depicted than in "The Country of Herself." An Israeli Jew residing in Baghdad who suffers nearly constant derision from her Muslim neighbors is pushed toward paranoia when she is spit on one day when leaving the market. In "OBST VW," Demian and Rachel lean on each other for the love and attention that their parents cannot provide. Solwitz knows just the right mixture of dramatic tension and more soothing elements to keep readers from getting complacent. Her ear for dialog is acute, as is her grasp of malaise and pessimism. A good purchase for academic libraries or for public libraries with deep contemporary fiction and short story collections.Lisa S. Nussbaum, Euclid PL., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781889330013
  • Publisher: Sarabande Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 238
  • Product dimensions: 6.29 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Table of Contents

Blood 1
The Country of Herself 13
OBST VW 51
Small Talk 69
Editing 89
The Hand Is Not Ironic 113
Fossilized 133
Mercy 161
If You Step on a Crack 175
Milk 197
Polio 219
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