Fast Lanes

Fast Lanes

by Jayne Anne Phillips
     
 

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Jayne Anne Phillips has always been a master of portraiture, both in her widely acclaimed novels and in her short fiction.  The stories in Fast Lanes demonstrated the breadth of her talent in a tour de force of voices, offering elegantly rendered views into the lives of characters torn between the liberation of detachment and the desire to…  See more details below

Overview

Jayne Anne Phillips has always been a master of portraiture, both in her widely acclaimed novels and in her short fiction.  The stories in Fast Lanes demonstrated the breadth of her talent in a tour de force of voices, offering elegantly rendered views into the lives of characters torn between the liberation of detachment and the desire to connect.

Three stories are collected in this edition for the first time: in "Alma," and adolescent daughter is made the confidante of her lonely mother; "Counting" traces the history of a dommed love affair; and "Callie" evokes memories of the haunting death of a child in 1920's West Virginia.  Along with the original seven stories from Fast Lanes--each told in extraordinary first person narratives that have been hailed by critics as virtuoso performances--these incandescent portraits offer windows into the lives of an entire generation of Americans, demonstrating again and again why Jayne Anne Phillips remains one of our most powerful writers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The seven short stories collected here clearly demonstrate the evolution of this gifted author's style and subject matter. The dazzling play of language and reckless protagonists of such tales as ``How Mickey Made It'' and ``Bluegill'' show a young writer in love with words and perhaps a little too enamored of life in the fast lane. ``Blue Moon'' and ``Bess'' are more conventionally written but equally fine; Phillips's style deepens as she turns her attention to more ordinary people with a new sensitivity and thoughtfulness. The latter two stories feature characters and situations from the 1984 novel Machine Dreams; they stand on their own but appear to be drawn from material left out of that book. In both the early tales, with their swaggering panache, and the more mature later work, there is evidence of a tremendously talented writer working to the limit of her powers at that particular moment. Judging from this collection, it seems as though there's nothing Phillips can't do. (April 21)
Library Journal
Phillips's writing has developed chiefly through the voice of her characters: first in the collection Black Tickets ( LJ 1 0/1/79), then the novel Machine Dreams ( LJ 7/84), and now in Fast Lanes , a collection of seven stories. (A limited edition presenting only the story ``Fast Lanes'' was published under that title by Vehicle Edns. in 1984.) A West Virginian, Phillips is often strongest when treating the isolation of that state's rural communities, as in ``Bess,'' a woman's reminiscence of life in turn-of-the-century Coalton. But the author's voice now broadens, exploring in fluid style a rock star's life and love (``How Mickey Made It''), a woman's yearnings for her unborn child (``Bluegill''), and the drifter's dreamy possession of reality (``Fast Lanes''). Phillips's perspective on contemporary life is refreshingly honest, her style engaging. Paul E. Hutchison, English Dept., Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park
From the Publisher
"Ms. Phillips's ear is almost unerring.... As ever, whe writes beautifully, capturing elusive moods with startling images and scenes."  -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Jayne Anne Phillips is the best short story writer since Eudora Welty."  -Nadine Gordimer

"A brilliant writer, utterly original and with an astonishing range." —Ian McEwan

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307808837
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/02/2011
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
843,459
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Jayne Anne Phillips was born in Buckhannon, West Virginia. She is the author of three novels, MotherKind (2000), Shelter (1994) and Machine Dreams (1984), and two collections of widely anthologized stories, Fast Lanes (1987) and Black Tickets (1979). She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a Bunting Fellowship. She has been awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction (1980) and an Academy Award in Literature (1997) by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been translated into twelve languages, and has appeared in Granta, Harper’s, DoubleTake, and The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. She is currently Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. Her new novel, Lark and Termite, is forthcoming from Knopf.

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