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Flight of Andy Burns

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In her brilliant new collection of stories, Alice Mattison displays her skill at depicting women and men whose emotional states undergo some sort of "flight." Linked by subtle moments of internal fragility, these portraits are familiar and identifiable, yet startlingly unexpected. Among the characters we meet: Margaret, a judge in a prison poetry contest; Valerie, a divorcee who is invited to her lover's house - to meet his mistress; and Jack, a buoyant father and husband nervously eager to see his visiting ...
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New York, NY 1993 Quarter Cloth First Edition New in New jacket 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. New York, NY, William Morrow & Co., 1993. First edition. 8vo. Maize colored quarter cloth ... over textured black boards with black lettering embossed on spine, tomato red endpapers, 235 pp. Despite the seemingly disparate lives of her characters, the author manages to weave a common thread through the stories. In each, a small but jarringly sudden discovery is made in the course of everyday activities. It is this sharp eye for capturing simultaneously mundane and quirky nature of feelings that gives her work an edge. Lettering on spine not clear due to a manufacturing glitch. A few of the pages front and back have smoothed wrinkles, but otherwise in pristine, unread condition. New in a new dust jacket, protected by an mylar cover. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In her brilliant new collection of stories, Alice Mattison displays her skill at depicting women and men whose emotional states undergo some sort of "flight." Linked by subtle moments of internal fragility, these portraits are familiar and identifiable, yet startlingly unexpected. Among the characters we meet: Margaret, a judge in a prison poetry contest; Valerie, a divorcee who is invited to her lover's house - to meet his mistress; and Jack, a buoyant father and husband nervously eager to see his visiting cousin - who has lost one of her own children. Despite the seemingly disparate lives of her characters, Alice Mattison manages to weave a common thread through the stories. In each, a small but jarringly sudden discovery is made in the course of everyday activities. It is this sharp eye for capturing the simultaneously mundane and quirky nature of feelings that gives Alice Mattison's work its edge. This new collection is sure to confirm her reputation as an original writer of great ability.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These 17 short stories nimbly and memorably revisit the subjects of Mattison's well-received debut fiction collection ( Great Wits ): kinships, here encompassing step-relatives and in-laws; romances, not necessarily successful or even healthy; and the ways people try to bridge the distances between them. Three works concern poetry projects in prisons, and another set focuses on college pals and their postgraduate friendships. Most take place in the Northeast, where the author herself lives, but none are bound by their settings. The title story, for example, involves no aircraft. Rather, a dinner guest is offered a ride home on a windy night by a particularly fragile couple he has just met; he finds himself recalling a shy, unusually serious fifth-grade classmate of years ago, who announced one day that a strong gust had actually picked him up and blown him part way to school. Mattison's finest writing is rooted in such episodes--apparently ordinary moments in which a character suddenly understands his existence more clearly, or reveals something crucial to another character, acknowledging home truths that are often unsettling but always illuminating. (Mar.)
Alice Joyce
If there is an edgy quality to these stories, there is also a great buoyancy. Everyday territory is Mattison's realm, and her characters remain distinctly likable while reveling in their vulnerabilities, projecting their fears, or exposing their inadequacies. In "The Great Blue Heron," Nina and her former mother-in-law canoe across a lake in Maine. As the majestic bird soars overhead, Jo casually mentions that her son intends to remarry. Nina feigns a lack of concern. The emotional terrain somehow balances out--comfortably familiar, yet full of momentary surprises. The author is most adroit at creating situations that engage readers in both the silly struggles and the profound awakenings of her characters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688111182
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 235

Table of Contents

The Library Card 11
The Landlord 21
Body of a Snake 37
The Great Blue Heron 47
Chunky Bracelets 59
The Flight of Andy Burns 71
The Hawk on the Fence 82
Whom Did You Kill? 89
A Basket of Oranges 99
The Giraffes 106
A Winding Stair 125
The Crossword Puzzle 141
Go, Mercy 154
Liberty Apples 167
Raymond & Leona 176
Strawberries 200
The Last Wedding Present 210
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