Other People We Married

Other People We Married

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by Emma Straub
     
 

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In Other People We Married, Straub creates characters as recognizable as a best friend, and follows them through moments of triumph and transformation with wit, vulnerability, and dazzling insight. In “Some People Must Really Fall in Love,” an assistant professor takes halting steps into the awkward world of office politics while harboring feelingsSee more details below

Overview

In Other People We Married, Straub creates characters as recognizable as a best friend, and follows them through moments of triumph and transformation with wit, vulnerability, and dazzling insight. In “Some People Must Really Fall in Love,” an assistant professor takes halting steps into the awkward world of office politics while harboring feelings for a freshman student. Two sisters struggle with old assumptions about each other as they stumble to build a new relationship in “A Map of Modern Palm Springs.” In “Puttanesca,” two widows move tentatively forward, still surrounded by ghosts and disappointments from the past. These twelve stories, filled with sharp humor, emotional acuity, and joyful language, announce the arrival of a major new talent.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though fresh and satisfying insights can surface in even the most common terrain, this debut story collection, from the daughter of horror heavyweight Peter Straub, offers little originality or wit. Despite the stories taking place in different locations, what the characters encounter along the way remains provincial, the circumstantial and geographic territory covered ringing all too familiar. Set in the Midwest, “Some People Must Really Fall in Love,” presents a young female professor with a crush on one of her students. In “Rosemary,” set in Brooklyn, a new mother’s beloved cat flees after the baby is born. In the title story, Franny’s best friend is a gay man who awkwardly accompanies her and her husband on a Martha’s Vineyard vacation. “Puttanesca,” by contrast, is a delight: Stephen and Laura met through their bereavement counselor, having each lost a significant other when young. Despite a trip to Italy, Laura in particular remains in the shadow of her dead husband, and in this there is tenderness and intrigue. “Orient Point” follows an unlikely couple and their baby to Long Island. Though it’s the shortest of the collection, it’s also the strongest, nailing both a humor and an inevitable loss that is never quite realized in the other stories. Agent: Jenni Ferrari-Adler, Brick House. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Other People We Married is a revelation.”
—Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America and A Gate at the Stairs

“Emma Straub is worthy of our adoration. These stories are wise, surprising, hilarious, and unforgettable.”
—Karen Russell, author of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Swamplandia!

“Emma Straub is a wry, witty, incisively observant writer.”
—Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

“Emma Straub’s stories mean that there are fewer lonely people in the world; they are the best kind of company. I’m giddy about their very existence, the way you get giddy when you meet someone you’d like to know for a long, long time. I look forward to knowing Emma Straub’s fiction for a long, long time.”
—Thisbe Nissen, author of The Good People of New York and Osprey Island

“Razor sharp and tenderhearted, funny and wrenching. Emma Straub’s stories take place in all the messy, fascinating, uncanny corners of contemporary relationships.”
—Kelly Link, author of Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners

“Emma Straub has such a graceful, brittle, subversive voice that it takes a moment after you surface from her stories, drugged with pleasure and ringing with sharp insight, to realize how deeply she loves and understands humanity. Other People We Married is a terrific collection of stories, and Emma Straub is a joyous marvel of a writer.”
—Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton and Delicate Edible Birds

“The smarts and humor of a Lorrie Moore or a Laurie Colwin or a Laurie Anderson—any number of Lauries.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead, for the Oxford American

Library Journal
Straub's stories go down easy, like a remembered conversation with a wise and witty friend. In her debut collection, she establishes characters and situations that feel immediately familiar and draw one in from the start. Many of her first sentences read like overheard dialog from the couple at the next table at the local bistro, but in this case one gets the chance to learn the delicious context. A story called "Rosemary" begins, "Claire didn't want to tell her husband that she'd called a pet psychic." Another, titled "A Map of Modern Palm Springs," features two sisters with a difficult history trying out a vacation together and begins, "The Palm Springs airport was more outside than inside, all sun-soaked breezeways and squinting white people in gold shirts." VERDICT These stories of love in its various permutations, gone wrong and right, are told with a captivating wryness, reminiscent of the early Ann Beattie, that readers will find tremendously appealing.—Sue Russell, Bryn Mawr, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Psychologically acute, often very funny and only occasionally glib, these stories show great promise, though a few of the dozen in this debut collection are almost as slight as the best are compelling. Straub writes predominantly from the perspective of a youngish woman in New York (where she lives and works as a bookseller) and often in the first person, though these narratives seem to transcend the thinly disguised memoir of so much fledgling fiction. Certain motifs seem signature. Many of the stories have a coming-of-age quality to them, though the "girls" who are experiencing these rites of passage might be well into their 20s or 30s, and some are even mothers. Like Franny, the unhappily married (or at least unfulfilled, for happiness may be beyond the emotional range of so many of Straub's characters) protagonist of three of these stories: "She still thought she was a cow with her leftover baby weight and yet insisted on wearing those stupid pigtails all young mothers seem to think it's their right to wear, as if they were all waiting, gasping, praying for someone to say, Oh, you! You can't be the mother of this child! You couldn't possibly be old enough!" In addition to arrested development, or a post-adolescence that extends into what was once considered middle age, a surprising number of these stories find two (or more) characters on vacation, or in a state of dislocation, a place where either the relationship changes or they (or at least one of them) discovers what has been wrong all along. They must, as Franny discovers in the pre-marriage "Pearls," where her friendship with her very different roommate briefly turns romantic. In the first-person opening story, "Some People Must Really Fall in Love," a young teacher in the grip of what she considers an inappropriate infatuation with a student tells her freshman class that "stories didn't have to have morals at the end." And many of these stories are left comparatively open-ended, rich in interpretive possibility. A fresh voice from a writer who deserves discovery.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101575284
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/07/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
309,257
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Thisbe Nissen
Emma Straub's stories mean that there are fewer lonely people in the world; they are the best kind of company. I'm giddy about their very existence, the way you get giddy when you meet someone you'd like to know for a long, long time. I look forward to knowing Emma Straub's fiction for a long, long time. (Thisbe Nissen, author of The Good People of New York and Osprey Island)
Kelly Link
Razor sharp and tenderhearted, funny and wrenching. Emma Straub's stories take place in all the messy, fascinating, uncanny corners of contemporary relationships. (Kelly Link, author of Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners)
Lauren Groff
Emma Straub has such a graceful, brittle, subversive voice that it takes a moment after you surface from her stories, drugged with pleasure and ringing with sharp insight, to realize how deeply she loves and understands humanity. Other People We Married is a terrific collection of stories, and Emma Straub is a joyous marvel of a writer. (Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton and Delicate Edible Birds)
Kevin Brockmeier
The smarts and humor of a Lorrie Moore or a Laurie Colwin or a Laurie Anderson—any number of Lauries. (Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead, for the Oxford American)
Dan Chaon
Emma Straub is a wry, witty, incisively observant writer. (Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply)
From the Publisher
Other People We Married is a revelation.”
—Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America and A Gate at the Stairs

“Emma Straub is worthy of our adoration. These stories are wise, surprising, hilarious, and unforgettable.”
—Karen Russell, author of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Swamplandia!

“Emma Straub is a wry, witty, incisively observant writer.”
—Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

“Emma Straub’s stories mean that there are fewer lonely people in the world; they are the best kind of company. I’m giddy about their very existence, the way you get giddy when you meet someone you’d like to know for a long, long time. I look forward to knowing Emma Straub’s fiction for a long, long time.”
—Thisbe Nissen, author of The Good People of New York and Osprey Island

“Razor sharp and tenderhearted, funny and wrenching. Emma Straub’s stories take place in all the messy, fascinating, uncanny corners of contemporary relationships.”
—Kelly Link, author of Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners

“Emma Straub has such a graceful, brittle, subversive voice that it takes a moment after you surface from her stories, drugged with pleasure and ringing with sharp insight, to realize how deeply she loves and understands humanity. Other People We Married is a terrific collection of stories, and Emma Straub is a joyous marvel of a writer.”
—Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton and Delicate Edible Birds

“The smarts and humor of a Lorrie Moore or a Laurie Colwin or a Laurie Anderson—any number of Lauries.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead, for the Oxford American

Lorrie Moore
Other People We Married is a revelation. (Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America and A Gate at the Stairs)
Karen Russell
Emma Straub is worthy of our adoration. These stories are wise, surprising, hilarious, and unforgettable. (Karen Russell, author of St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Swamplandia!)

Read More

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