Further Adventures in the Restless Universe

Overview

“Dawn Raffel's stories are like prismatic drops of rain, hanging from the edge of a roof or sliding down a windshield, reflecting an entire world within. The language of motherhood, of adulthood, of childhood — the language of family and individual — has never been like this. Sly and probing, with the sting of precision and pain.” —Susan Straight

“In Dawn Raffel's Further Adventures in the Restless Universe the oppressive truth of our mortality unsettles but does not vanquish the spirit. The woman as drudge may ...

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Overview

“Dawn Raffel's stories are like prismatic drops of rain, hanging from the edge of a roof or sliding down a windshield, reflecting an entire world within. The language of motherhood, of adulthood, of childhood — the language of family and individual — has never been like this. Sly and probing, with the sting of precision and pain.” —Susan Straight

“In Dawn Raffel's Further Adventures in the Restless Universe the oppressive truth of our mortality unsettles but does not vanquish the spirit. The woman as drudge may be "a failure at folding," but she is a rare songmaker whose dialogues with a son, a sister — the usual figures from the family romance — make for a musical and philosophical call and response. The son proposes one way to keep birds from crashing into fatally clear windows is to ‘open the windows all over the world.’ These stories promise more life. Take them to heart!” —Christine Schutt

When Dawn Raffel was a very small child, her father used to read to her nightly from The Restless Universe—a layman’s guide to physics by the Nobel Laureate Max Born. Although she loved the time spent with her father, she didn’t—despite his statements to the contrary—comprehend a word of the physics. It was her first recognition that love so often comes with imperfect understanding.

The 21 stories in Further Adventures in the Restless Universe are about fathers, daughters, mothers, sisters, husbands, wives, strangers, lovers, sons, neighbors, kings, death, faith, astronomical phenomena, and the way the heart warps time. Of her previous work, one reviewer stated, “Raffel takes conventions and smashes them to bits” and another called it “extreme literature.” Of Further Adventures, Publisher’s Weekly says, “Raffel's stripped-to-the-bone prose is a model of economy and grace.”

Dawn Raffel is the author of a previous collection of short stories, In the Year of Long Division, and a novel, Carrying the Body. Her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Conjunctions, NOON, Open City, The Mississippi Review, The Quarterly, Unsaid, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies. She has taught creative writing in the MFA program at Columbia University and is a magazine editor in New York City.

“Readers have come to expect from Dawn Raffel’s prose nothing less than the syllable-by-syllable perfections of purest poetry and the boldest wisdom a human heart can hold. Her new collection of pithy, exquisite fictions about the timeless crises of mothers, daughters, and wives is breathtaking and haunting in its majestic exactitudes.” —Gary Lutz

“Less has never been more than in Dawn Raffel's Further Adventures in the Restless Universe. These spare, high-intensity stories of brave people at the end of their ropes are not only models of writerly integrity, but monuments of the spirit asserting itself out of the depths of silence.” – David Gates

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her elegant second collection (after the novel Carrying the Body), Raffel finds lyrical appeasement in the everyday concerns of raising children, being a dutiful daughter and wife, and simply enduring one's family. The mother of a seven-year-old son in “Her Purchase” is viewed as a master of the child's universe, teaching him everything he knows, exhausted by his constant asking of questions, yet amazed, too, that she can still cherish his happiness. Raffel employs mannered dialogue to artful effect throughout, such as the phone conversation between two sisters in “The Interruption,” in which one attempts to tell the story of how their great-aunt came from Poland to Chicago, but spirals into a halfhearted musing on frustrations in love. The mother-daughter getaway depicted in “North of the Middle” allows the pair to dissect their frozen relationship in conversations that underscore their inability to communicate. “The Air and Its Relatives” is a marvelous glimpse at the evolution of a father-daughter relationship through snapshots of his teaching her to drive and other telling flashbacks. Raffel's stripped-to-the-bone prose is a model of economy and grace. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780976717799
  • Publisher: Dzanc Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 100
  • Sales rank: 1,484,071
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dawn Raffel is the author of Carrying the Body (a novel) and In the Year of Long Division (short stories). A new collection, Further Adventures in the Restless Universe, will be published in March, 2010. She is currently Editor-at-Large at More magazine and an adjunct assistant professor in the MFA program at Columbia University.

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