No Animals We Could Name: Stories [NOOK Book]

Overview

No Animals We Could Name by Ted Sanders



The winner of the Bakeless Prize for Fiction, a bold debut collection


The animals (human or otherwise) in Ted Sanders's inventive, wistful stories are oddly familiar, yet unlike anyone you've met before. A lion made of bedsheets, with chicken bones for teeth, is brought to life by a grieving ...

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No Animals We Could Name: Stories

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Overview

No Animals We Could Name by Ted Sanders



The winner of the Bakeless Prize for Fiction, a bold debut collection


The animals (human or otherwise) in Ted Sanders's inventive, wistful stories are oddly familiar, yet unlike anyone you've met before. A lion made of bedsheets, with chicken bones for teeth, is brought to life by a grieving mother. When Raphael the pet lizard mysteriously loses his tail, his owners find themselves ever more desperate to keep him alive, in one sense or another. A pensive tug-of-war between an amateur angler and a halibut unfolds through the eyes of both fisherman and fish. And in the collection's unifying novella, an unusual guest's arrival at a party sets idle gears turning in startling new ways.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Sanders’s formally rigorous debut collection, winner of the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize for fiction, characters have relationships with a variety of animals—domestic, wild, and even imaginary. In “Obit” (which won a PEN/O. Henry Award), the author splits the text into columns to tell dueling stories. “Flounder,” the story of a man and a fish, is told from perspectives of both predator and prey. A character builds an array of machines, including a simulacrum of himself, in “Assembly,” which Sanders lays out on the page like a poem. The book’s centerpiece is the disturbing three-part “Airbag,” about a party that leaves three guests—the lovelorn David, a huge dog named Lord Jim, and Dorlene, the seventh shortest person on record—significantly altered by the end of the night. The collection’s variations—in both content and form—mean that not every story will work for every reader (more conventional stories deliver the clearest emotional impact), but all 12 are memorable, and such a broad range in a story collection is welcome. (July)
From the Publisher
"This is the music I have been waiting for, which is to say: the music made by the intersection of the visual, the sonic, the emotional, the tactile, the dramatic, and the gonzo. Ted Sanders is a fearless, wild, tremendously sensitive writer, who seems to write not only about the three dimensions of the world we live in, but also about the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth. . . . Reading these stories is like looking into the eyes of an animal, finding there both recognition and unbridled otherness, a gaze returned to you that both is and isn't from a reality you already know and that may be ringed with fur, or legs." —Stacey D'Erasmo, Bakeless Prize judge
Kirkus Reviews
It's not the animals, but the clueless humans who dominate this amorphous story collection, the author's debut. Of the ten stories (and two short flights of fancy), the longest, "Airbag," has been split into three nonconsecutive segments. It's about a midget, Dorlene, who claims to be the seventh shortest person in the country. She's described almost exclusively in terms of her size; that's reductive, offensively so. She's been brought to a party at a farm outside Seattle; she's a former student of Tom, the host. Dorlene's no higher than crotch level (cue the oral-sex joke). Tom has a truly enormous dog, which he's forgotten to shut away; it looms over Dorlene, who's so panicked she wets herself. The ending will not be pleasant. There is more foolishness in the next longest story: "Putting the Lizard to Sleep." A 5-year-old's pet lizard loses part of its tail and has to be euthanized by the vet. John, the father, had been hoping to retrieve the dead lizard: "I wanted him to see what dead is." But the lizard's already been cremated, so John and his live-in girlfriend pretend they have the dead lizard in a box (it's actually a sausage link). The ponderously delivered moral is that lying to kids doesn't work. The other stories are even less developed. "Opinion of Person" is a study of anomie. Two housemates are united by their loathing of a cat, whose owner is away at work. James, in "Momentary," has lost his hand in an act of self-mutilation. He's under observation in a mental hospital, yet there are no insights into his condition. "The Lion" is just as wispy. A wheelchair-bound woman has made a lion out of fabric. Will it be a Frankenstein's monster? Who knows? And who knows what's going on in "Jane," between the ghost and her sleeping ex-lover? As Sanders writes elsewhere, "Confusion burbles thickly." An awkward start.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555970567
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Ted Sanders teaches at the University of Illinois and Parkland College in Urbana-Champaign. His stories have appeared in the Georgia Review and the O. Henry Prize Stories 2010, among other places.


Ted Sanders teaches at the University of Illinois and Parkland College in Urbana-Champaign. His stories have appeared in the Georgia Review and the O. Henry Prize Stories 2010, among other places.
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Read an Excerpt

No Animals We Could Name

Stories
By TED SANDERS

Graywolf Press

Copyright © 2012 Ted Sanders
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-55597-616-3


Introduction

This is the music I have been waiting for, which is to say: the music made by the intersection of the visual, the sonic, the emotional, the tactile, the dramatic, and the gonzo. Ted Sanders is a fearless, wild, tremendously sensitive writer, who seems to write not only about the three dimensions of the world we live in, but also about the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth. How else can one account for this sentence, concerning the ontological condition of a halibut: "He swims on his side, affecting flatness." Or this, of a ghost hovering over her sleeping former husband: "Here in the night about this bed, you find yourself thickening down out of dark, gathering in his thoughts, shaped by his insistence." Or this, of a magazine resting in a woman's lap: "It arched over her thighs like a bird drawn by a child." Sanders tunes into all the stations at once, constructing a sound like no other, finding the spark of life in everything we can see, and can't. It doesn't seem like an accident that there are a lot of animals here: bears, fish, deer, lizards, lions, horses, octopi. Reading these stories is like looking into the eyes of an animal, finding there both recognition and unbridled otherness, a gaze returned to you that both is and isn't from a reality you already know and that may be ringed with fur, or legs. Even the machine in "Assembly" has its own odd life, its own agency, its own powers of invention.

This is the music of now. We see life everywhere—in our computers, in our phones, and as animals disappear we feel again the fresh, hard, erotic force of what we're about to lose. We can't quite return their backward glance. Our computers, closed, emit that pulse of light in a heartbeat rhythm, safe in dreamland. Sanders isn't writing about any of this per se, he is writing about men and women and children and animals, about beauty and loss. But he has hit upon a poetics of what it feels like to be alive right now, that blur of life that seems to be in everything, all the time, distributed in unpredictable, distressing, and deeply pleasurable ways simultaneously. The ghost, after having made a kind of spooky midnight love to her living husband, departs: "You curdle dearly from his skin."

This is the music of joy. Not easy joy, not necessarily permanent joy, not the joy you might expect. It is the joy in what is. The halibut, writes Sanders, "watches the light in his own eyes." Can anyone read that and not feel both thrilled and yearning, does anyone not want to watch the light in his or her own eyes? In story after story, Sanders reminds us that the light is there. The rest is up to us.

—Stacey D'Erasmo

(Continues...)



Excerpted from No Animals We Could Name by TED SANDERS Copyright © 2012 by Ted Sanders. Excerpted by permission of Graywolf Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction by Stacey D'Erasmo....................ix
Obit....................3
Flounder....................11
Airbag: One....................23
Jane....................45
Putting the Lizard to Sleep....................51
The Lion....................97
The Whale Dream....................113
Airbag: Two....................115
Opinion of Person....................141
Momentary....................159
The Heart as a Fist....................189
deer in the road....................193
Airbag: Three....................199
Assembly....................223
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Over-hyped, overblown, underdeveloped... Etc. I have a real pr

    Over-hyped, overblown, underdeveloped... Etc. I have a real problem with collections like this one, and it doesn't seem like things will change any time soon.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    remarkable!

    These stories are beautiful, haunting, challenging--a must-read for short story lovers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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