Magpies

Magpies

by Lynne Barrett
     
 

In Magpies, Lynne Barrett's characters move through the past decade's glitter and darkness. From the Internet's fragmented pages to a gossip columnist's sweet poison to the ABCs of a hurricane season, these tales explore story form and storytelling as a means of connection, betrayal, and survival for characters who learn, sometimes too late, the value of what's

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Overview

In Magpies, Lynne Barrett's characters move through the past decade's glitter and darkness. From the Internet's fragmented pages to a gossip columnist's sweet poison to the ABCs of a hurricane season, these tales explore story form and storytelling as a means of connection, betrayal, and survival for characters who learn, sometimes too late, the value of what's grasped and what's lost.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her third book, Barrett (The Secret Names of Women) presents eight stories featuring collectors of vintage ephemera, underemployed women, and murderers, among others. She nimbly portrays the pitfalls of empathy, from an employee who shepherds her boss home after the failure of an Internet startup to a columnist whose cruel speculation results in an ailment requiring kindness to lessen its effects. In other stories, an ex-cop allows a confession to remain secret, a stranded woman converses with an Argentine cashier, sisters reach a truce over maintaining their mother's Christmas tradition, and, a couple navigates the transition from dating to life after marriage. Barrett portrays adult lives with minimal flourishes and a powerful command of setting. Florida is electric with the tension of "all that can happen"—hurricanes, sinkholes, and a boom-and-bust history. It becomes as eerie as it is richly imagined, whether stories take place in an Art Deco building or a gas station. One of the year's finer university press offerings, the collection is especially noteworthy for "The Noir Boudoir," an atmospheric tale of unsettling realizations and the ways past events shadow the present. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Barrett portrays adult lives with minimal flourishes and a powerful command of setting. Florida is electric with the tension of 'all that can happen' —hurricanes, sinkholes, and a boom-and-bust history. It becomes as eerie as it is richly imagined, whether stories take place in an Art Deco building or a gas station. One of the year's finer university press offerings, the collection is especially noteworthy for 'The Noir Boudoir,' an atmospheric tale of unsettling realizations and the ways past events shadow the present."—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780887485435
Publisher:
Carnegie-Mellon University Press
Publication date:
09/01/2011
Series:
Carnegie Mellon Short Fiction Series
Pages:
120
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are saying about this

Kelly Cherry
"Lynne Barrett belongs in the top tier of short-story writers in America today. Her unforgettable characters, poker-face wit, and sly plots make for an intensely enjoyable experience. The title story should be snapped up by anthologies. Barrett's male characters are every bit as believable as her female characters, and the breadth of detail is both natural and mind-expanding. You want to read her work: it's hilarious-funny and sophisticated-funny and moving-funny, and withal shines a clarity that comes from the subtle beauty of her sentences."
Steve Almond
"It is entirely impossible to predict what you're going to get when you start a Lynne Barrett story: a taut tale of adultery and murder, a wry evocation of romance amid the dot.com bubble, a gossip columnist who spits toads. What you do know is that you'll keep reading—for the vibrant prose, the keen insights, and the remarkable depth of feeling. Magpies is a stone cold triumph."

Meet the Author

LYNNE BARRETT's work has appeared in Miami Noir, A Dixie Christmas, Delta Blues, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Apalachee Review, Saw Palm, the Southern Women's Review and many other anthologies and magazines. Magpies is her third collection of short stories. She has received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best mystery story from the Mystery Writers of America and fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. With her husband and son, she lives in Miami. She teaches at Florida International University and edits The Florida Book Review. More information can be found at http://www.lynnebarrett.com/.

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