Easy for You: Stories

Overview

In this debut collection, Shannan Rouss delivers ten sharply etched stories set against the endless freeways and twinkling lights of Los Angeles. Each one provides a momentary glimpse into the lives of the inhabitants of this sprawling space where lines and lives intersect.

We are introduced to the world of a millionaire who plays host to his ex-lover's wedding, a young bulimic woman whose relationship with a chef crumbles over a truffle, a Laurel Canyon housewife whose only ...

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Easy for You: Stories

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Overview

In this debut collection, Shannan Rouss delivers ten sharply etched stories set against the endless freeways and twinkling lights of Los Angeles. Each one provides a momentary glimpse into the lives of the inhabitants of this sprawling space where lines and lives intersect.

We are introduced to the world of a millionaire who plays host to his ex-lover's wedding, a young bulimic woman whose relationship with a chef crumbles over a truffle, a Laurel Canyon housewife whose only confidante is the daughter of her Russian maid, and other stories from the City of Angels.

Filled with heartbreak and humor, Easy for You depicts the universal desire to find something true, and the lengths people will go to connect.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Shannan Rouss is an important new voice, just when we need her. This book is fun and smart, worldly and amiable, savvy and just plain great—the perfect companion.”
—Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and More Than It Hurts You

“Shannan Rouss is a magical writer. Reading this collection feels like unwrapping presents, each more enchanting than the last. These stories are crisp, witty, tender, sad, and altogether delightful.”
—Brian Morton, author of Starting Out in the Evening and Breakable You

"Even the darker stories in Shannan Rouss’s debut collection, Easy For You, have an essential effervescence that makes these 10 Los Angeles tales about lonely trophy wives, clueless fathers, and wiser-than-the-adults teens shimmer and sparkle like the backyard swimming pools dotting the area’s secretive and secluded hillsides and canyons."
Elle

"Threaded with humor and messiness reminiscent of Lorrie Moore. . . . it beautifully illustrates regret and desperation."
Publishers Weekly

"[Rouss's] debut collection vividly portrays men and women still tangled in the past. . . [her] wise, ironic stories are refreshingly sincere, offbeat, sad, and free of Hollywood stereotypes, introducing a young, perceptive writer who can see through the shiny surface, into the human heart."
Booklist

"The author may have moved to New York, but she paints a bulls-eye on her hometown of L.A. and delivers up an insightful debut collection."
—LA Magazine

Publishers Weekly
This debut collection of L.A. stories concentrates its efforts, overwhelmingly, on the mostly failing love lives of its mostly female first-person protagonists. At its best, the stories are bittersweet, but Rouss often veers into cliché and melodrama. “Die Meant Enough” is an unflinching description of life as the new girlfriend of a divorcing man, and is threaded with humor and messiness reminiscent of Lorrie Moore. “Swans by the Hour” delivers a heartfelt narrative about a man who hosts his ex-girlfriend’s wedding. Despite some phoned-in bits (the awkward toast; a tedious description of the narrator’s fabulous home), it beautifully illustrates regret and desperation. But Rouss’s well-crafted prose cannot save her from the cartoonishness of many of her story’s characters. “Beverly Hills Adjacent” features a stock grumpy old man, a hapless, repressed racist whose new neighbors are savvy, very kind Iranian-Americans. Frequently, there are pregnancies (“Dog People,” “Last Ice Age,” “Easy for You”) and the ambivalence the protagonists feel about them, as well as marriages and the ambivalence the characters feel about them. The prose can be quite good, but Rouss’s thin, one-note L.A. gets tiresome. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439148358
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 3/23/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 154
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Shannan Rouss is a third generation Angeleno who moved to New York, but never really left L.A. She is a former staff writer at Self, and has contributed to Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Nylon. She is currently the editor of Vital Juice New York, a daily email newsletter and website. She lives in Brooklyn.

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