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Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night: Stories
     

Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night: Stories

by Thisbe Nissen
 

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In Thisbe Nissen's award-winning debut story collection, characters teeter on the verge of love, of life, of oncoming cataclysms after which Things Will Never Be the Same. Against the varied backdrops of Grateful Dead shows, anniversary parties, sickrooms, and bright Manhattan vestibules, Nissen traces the joy, terror, and electric surprise that flash between

Overview

In Thisbe Nissen's award-winning debut story collection, characters teeter on the verge of love, of life, of oncoming cataclysms after which Things Will Never Be the Same. Against the varied backdrops of Grateful Dead shows, anniversary parties, sickrooms, and bright Manhattan vestibules, Nissen traces the joy, terror, and electric surprise that flash between people as they suddenly connect. A fifteen-year-old girl whose mother is slowly dying finds solace in the bed of her best friend's older brother. A wife remembers the early romance in her marriage as she watches her husband's hand, shaky with Parkinson's, lift a bite of food to his mouth. Longtime friends are jolted by their unforeseen attraction to each other; new lovers feel their way by instinct in vans, on futons, an during risky, late-night conversation. Knowing, often hilarious, and always pitch-perfect, Nissen's tales hang inside those moments when the heart is acting and the head is watching, hopeful that the heart is doing the right thing.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[An] awe-inspiring collection of stories. Nissen's characters are young and yearning, and they come together in lovely and unexpected ways." —The Austin Chronicle

"These are requiems for youth. . . . Nissen has a rare, poetic way with the short-story form." —The Hartford Courant

Marilynne Robinson
These stories abound in a rich life, holding sad, awkward, edgy contemporaneity in their generous embrace.
Harper's Magazine
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Moving from the chaotic world of adolescence and into adulthood is the theme that links Nissen's bittersweet collection of 25 fierce and quirky short stories, the winner of the John Simmons Fiction Award. Familiar issues are dealt with innovatively--young women (and some men) deal with eating disorders, illness, death, infidelity and love. The cast is an eclectic crew of original, sometimes bizarre, yet recognizable characters with names like Silver Tarkington, Wing MacArdle, Mo t and Zagarella. The settings range from Santa Cruz to the Midwest, Manhattan to Paris. With self-deprecating and wry humor, Nissen's characters frequently improvise unusual answers for difficult, confusing questions. In "Way Back When in the Now Before Now," Sari, a city-savvy teenager whose mother is dying of cancer, slips into the bed of her best friend's brother, searching for comfort in "the hot sleepy boy-smell with its acrid twinge of sex." "The Estate" charts the fleeting passage of time as experienced by a close-knit group of friends and family summering together annually at a carriage house on a large property. Other stories feature young hippies hoping to make a Grateful Dead show; a group of eight women living in a feminist co-op; a child coping with being pushed too hard by ambitious, cold parents. In these tales, as in others, Nissen displays a sharp talent for fresh detail and dialogue: Barb-Jean, a soprano who conserves her voice for days at a time, communicates through scraps of paper. "When we cleaned the house... at the end of the season we'd find fragments of conversation stuck between the couch cushions and tucked into kitchen drawers: how many people? How many ears? Portuguese on her mother's side I think, Sot--5 letters--ends in a y." Many of the stories in this warm, fearless collection trace college love affairs and exquisite, if tentative, sexual explorations between young women. Where a few tales are merely good, several of them are stellar, marking Nissan as an assured writer whose wide-ranging interest in varied people and life situations creates lively fiction. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
YA-The two dozen stories here are contemporary, memorable, and thought-provoking. All deal with love-requited, denied, outgrown, and enduring. The characters vary in age and gender, and the level of their attachments ranges from the disillusionment of a preschooler with a highly intelligent but mean schoolmate to the adjustments required in a 25-year marriage when Alzheimer's disease encroaches. Characters engage in the casual sex and drug use integral to the culture of Deadheads and Jerry Garcia. Several of the stories deal with the problems of anorexia as they affect the lives of young women, their parents, and, in one striking case, a pet cat. The title story is a study in contrasts as it depicts the gripping passion of a middle-aged science teacher for a teen who had indulged him once and now "couldn't care less." Another story concerns the bizarre accidents plaguing a group of eight college housemates. The writing evokes definite periods and stages in the development of personality and awareness.- Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385720533
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.19(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Marilynne Robinson
These stories abound in a rich life, holding sad, awkward, edgy contemporaneity in their generous embrace. They do not soothe or forgive or reassure; they love the creature as it is. There is great originality and great freedom in Thisbe Nissen's approach to her subject, a kind of classicism in her lucid and compassionate interest in the ways of this present world.

Meet the Author

Thisbe Nissen is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former James Michener Fellow. Her stories have appeared in Story and Seventeen. A native New Yorker, she now lives in Iowa.

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