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Happy or Otherwise
     

Happy or Otherwise

4.6 3
by Diana Joseph
 

The people in Diana Joseph's Happy or Otherwise are looking for ways to live through hurt, some of it passed on like a family heirloom, some of it self-inflicted. Tabbitha, the adult daughter in "Bloodlines," recounts her brother's death and her grieving father's violent response to it. Her memory is compassionate, but unflinched as she reflects on how, even twenty

Overview

The people in Diana Joseph's Happy or Otherwise are looking for ways to live through hurt, some of it passed on like a family heirloom, some of it self-inflicted. Tabbitha, the adult daughter in "Bloodlines," recounts her brother's death and her grieving father's violent response to it. Her memory is compassionate, but unflinched as she reflects on how, even twenty years later, "you don't forget." In "Windows and Words," Leslie, a college senior, falls for a guy who "used philosophy as a form of foreplay." In turn, she decides, "Acting on desire is just another way to procrastinate." The book also explores how people define themselves through the stories they tell: the title character of "Schandorsky's Mother" is writing a poem that "chronicles her relationship" with the father her son has never known. "So someday you'll understand," she tells the puzzled boy. In "Approximate to Salvation," a daughter's claim that a stranger raped her covers up a painful truth: her father's attempt to seduce her. The tales concocted by the narrator of "Naming Stories" reveal her intense longing for a sense of self: "Sometimes, I told this story," she says, "I was conceived at Woodstock, in the rain, the music, the mud, on the night of a full moon." Another character, Sookey, in "Expatriates," believes "confessing would feel like love." With prose that is sharp, lyrical, and image-driven, Happy or Otherwise is a fierce book with a lot of funny parts.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780887483967
Publisher:
Carnegie-Mellon University Press
Publication date:
01/01/2003
Series:
Carnegie Mellon Short Fiction Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.56(d)

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What People are Saying About This

Melanie Rae Thon
"Who will save you? In Diana Joseph's stunning collection, this question burns at the heart of every story. the child who rescues his older sister grows up to be a man who seduces his daughter. A woman who cannot bear to part from her son fro the summer dopes him with cough syrup to steal a night of peace and passion with her new lover. Through all her people—an Amish boy, and Italian father, a motherless girl—Diana Joseph exposes the desperation and humor of our human desires. She leads us into the wilderness where the search for love tempts us to commit the most intimate betrayals."
Gordon Weaver
"Diana Joseph's debut collection is a mix of captivating voices. These are characters readers will love, hate, admire, and despise. Joseph writes with humor, passion, and respect for the craft. To read these stories is to experience empathy for humanity."
Michael Martone
"Diana Joseph's stories are ripe with nuance. Her domestic landscape, while intimately scaled, contain every typographical feature found in the most rugged mountain chain. In her hands, a minute gesture of separation reads as vibrant as the most dramatic continental divide."

Meet the Author

DIANA JOSEPH was born and raised in western Pennsylvania. She bussed tables in a smorgasbord, worked at a pizza parlor, in a strawberry field, a pallet shop, a public library, and as a waitress and short order cook. She currently lives in Grand Junction, Colorado, where she edits Pinyon Press and teaches creative writing at Mesa State College.

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Happy or Otherwise 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one for the ladies. Although I'm a boy, I loved it too. Great characters with original voices. Well-written, no overexposition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent summer read - The stories left one waiting for more. The characters were vulnerable as well as dislikeable; everyone will recognize someone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of Diana Joseph's students recommended this book to me saying it was great. It is! It's a collection of short stories. My favorite is 'Windows and Words,' about a girl who gets pregnant while she's still in college. My favorite line is 'Acting on desire, Leslie thought, is just another way to procrastinate.' Other stories are funny, too, but some are tragic. 'Bloodlines' is very short, but the material could easy be turned into a novel. It's about a boy who's killed by a horse and how his family responds. 'Naming Stories,' about a girl who learns she's adopted, is hilarious! I reccomend this book to anyone who likes fiction by Lorrie Moore.