Esther Storiesby Peter Orner
Pub. Date: 04/23/2013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Peter Orner explores the impact of life's essential moments, those brief but far-reaching occasions that haunt his characters. The discovery of a crime, a theatrical performance in a small town, or the recollection of a cruel wartime decision are equally affecting in Orner's vivid scenarios. Esther Stories is divided into four distinct parts, each with its own momentum. The first half of the book concerns the lives of unrelated strangers, and the second introduces two Jewish families, one on the East Coast, the other in the Midwest.These stories cover considerable geographic ground from Nova Scotia to Mississippi, from Fall River, Massachusetts, to Chicago but the real territory is emotional. As the narrator of the title story tries to piece together his late aunt Esther's life from the fragments of stories told about her, he remembers what she told him in a dark kitchen when he was a child: "You pay for everything. When you think you're getting something for free remember this you'll pay later." All thirty-two wide-ranging pieces funny or sorrowful, urban or rural, simple or innovative are welcome additions to the art of the story.
Author Biography: Peter Orner was born in Chicago and spent time in Africa with a Harvard program as a student. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Northwestern in 1990. He holds both an MFA from the University of Iowa and a degree in law. He served as a public defender in Massachusetts and currently teaches law in Prague. He will return to the States in July of 2000 to teach in the creative writing program at Miami University of Ohio. Orner's stories have appeared in the AtlanticMonthly, North American Review, Epoch, Denver Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, and other periodicals.
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Table of Contents
1. What Remains Initials Etched on a Dining-Room Table, Lockeport, Nova Scotia 3 Thumbs 6 In the Walls 14 Early November 17 Pile of Clothes 19 Papa Gino’s 26 On a Bridge over the Homochitto 30
2. The Famous Cousin Tuck’s 37 Two Poes 46 Shoe Story 56 Thursday Night at the Gopher Hole, April 1992 58 County Road G 66 At the Motel Rainbow 70 Sitting Theodore 81 3. fall river marriage At Horseneck Beach 93 Sarah 94 Walt Kaplan Reads Hiroshima, March 1947 97 Melba Kuperschmid Returns 104 Birth of a Son-in-Law 113 At the Conrad Hilton 118 Awnings, Bedspreads, Combed Yarns 124 High Priest at the Gates 131 In the Dark 133 Atlantic City 136 Providence 140
4. The Waters Michigan City, Indiana 153 The Raft 155 The House on Lunt Avenue 160 Daughters 170 My Father in an Elevator with Anita Fanska, August 1976 179 Seymour 182 The Moraine on the Lake 184 Esther Stories 186 The Waters 217
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