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Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night: Stories

Overview

Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night is a spirited, offbeat collection of stories, elongated riffs on that thing we call . . . love. All manner of love stories: thwarted love stories, imaginary love stories, love stories offhand and obsessive, philosophical love stories, erudite and amusing love stories.

"People don't meet because they both like Burmese food," says one character, "or because someone's sister has a friend who's single and new in town, or because Billy's nose happened to crook just slightly to...

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1999 Soft cover 1st Edition New. No Jacket Signed by Author(s) 0877456917 As New. First Edition. Paper Back Original. Signed By Author on Title Page. Book was purchased signed ... and has been in a cellophane bag since. Authors first book of stories that won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night is a spirited, offbeat collection of stories, elongated riffs on that thing we call . . . love. All manner of love stories: thwarted love stories, imaginary love stories, love stories offhand and obsessive, philosophical love stories, erudite and amusing love stories.

"People don't meet because they both like Burmese food," says one character, "or because someone's sister has a friend who's single and new in town, or because Billy's nose happened to crook just slightly to the left at an angle that made me want to weep. . . . People don't fall in love with each other . . . they just fall into love."

Everyone does it: women of fierce independence, men of thin character, rambling Deadheads, gay teenage girls, despondent Peace Corps volunteers, anorexic Broadway theatre dancers, the eager, the grieving, the uncommunicative. Even the confused do it. And they don't just fall in love with each other-they fall in love with certain moments and familiar places, with things as ephemeral as gestures and as evanescent as sunlight.

Quirky, real, idealistic, deluded, bohemian, and true, these are people who can-and often do-fall in love with a pair of ears, August afternoons, saucers of vitamins, New Age carpenters, and dead bumblebees. And if there's something they can teach us, it's how to conceive of alternative worlds and the terror and the exhilaration of venturing outside the confines of the lives we know and making our way into a dark, glittering unknown.

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Editorial Reviews

Marilynne Robinson
These stories abound in a rich life, holding sad, awkward, edgy contemporaneity in their generous embrace.
Harper's Magazine
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Moving from the chaotic world of adolescence and into adulthood is the theme that links Nissen's bittersweet collection of 25 fierce and quirky short stories, the winner of the John Simmons Fiction Award. Familiar issues are dealt with innovatively--young women (and some men) deal with eating disorders, illness, death, infidelity and love. The cast is an eclectic crew of original, sometimes bizarre, yet recognizable characters with names like Silver Tarkington, Wing MacArdle, Mo t and Zagarella. The settings range from Santa Cruz to the Midwest, Manhattan to Paris. With self-deprecating and wry humor, Nissen's characters frequently improvise unusual answers for difficult, confusing questions. In "Way Back When in the Now Before Now," Sari, a city-savvy teenager whose mother is dying of cancer, slips into the bed of her best friend's brother, searching for comfort in "the hot sleepy boy-smell with its acrid twinge of sex." "The Estate" charts the fleeting passage of time as experienced by a close-knit group of friends and family summering together annually at a carriage house on a large property. Other stories feature young hippies hoping to make a Grateful Dead show; a group of eight women living in a feminist co-op; a child coping with being pushed too hard by ambitious, cold parents. In these tales, as in others, Nissen displays a sharp talent for fresh detail and dialogue: Barb-Jean, a soprano who conserves her voice for days at a time, communicates through scraps of paper. "When we cleaned the house... at the end of the season we'd find fragments of conversation stuck between the couch cushions and tucked into kitchen drawers: how many people? How many ears? Portuguese on her mother's side I think, Sot--5 letters--ends in a y." Many of the stories in this warm, fearless collection trace college love affairs and exquisite, if tentative, sexual explorations between young women. Where a few tales are merely good, several of them are stellar, marking Nissan as an assured writer whose wide-ranging interest in varied people and life situations creates lively fiction. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
YA-The two dozen stories here are contemporary, memorable, and thought-provoking. All deal with love-requited, denied, outgrown, and enduring. The characters vary in age and gender, and the level of their attachments ranges from the disillusionment of a preschooler with a highly intelligent but mean schoolmate to the adjustments required in a 25-year marriage when Alzheimer's disease encroaches. Characters engage in the casual sex and drug use integral to the culture of Deadheads and Jerry Garcia. Several of the stories deal with the problems of anorexia as they affect the lives of young women, their parents, and, in one striking case, a pet cat. The title story is a study in contrasts as it depicts the gripping passion of a middle-aged science teacher for a teen who had indulged him once and now "couldn't care less." Another story concerns the bizarre accidents plaguing a group of eight college housemates. The writing evokes definite periods and stages in the development of personality and awareness.- Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
From the Publisher
"[An] awe-inspiring collection of stories. Nissen's characters are young and yearning, and they come together in lovely and unexpected ways." —The Austin Chronicle

"These are requiems for youth. . . . Nissen has a rare, poetic way with the short-story form." —The Hartford Courant

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877456919
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Series: Iowa Short Fiction Award Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Thisbe Nissen is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former James Michener Fellow. Her stories have appeared in Story and Seventeen. A native New Yorker, she now lives in Iowa.

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Table of Contents

The Mushroom Girl 1
At the No. 1 Phoenix Garden 18
Apple Pie 20
When the Rain Washes You Clean You'll Know 33
The Rather Unlikely Courtship of Edwin Anderson and Roz Rosenzweig 42
Grover, King of Nebraska 53
29th Street Playground, September 1968 63
What Safety Is 66
Way Back When in the Now before Now 79
Fundamentals of Communication 91
Flowers in the Dustbin, Poison in the Human Machine 95
Mailing Incorrectly 117
3 1/2 x 5 129
819 Walnut 131
Accidental Love 148
How Beautifully Resilient the Human Being 159
Jono, an Elegy 171
The Girl at Chichen Itza 180
The Estate 185
A Bungalow, Koh Tao 196
Grog 199
After Twenty-Five Years, at the Palais Royale 210
Think about if You Want 212
The Animal's Best Interest 225
Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night 236
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2001

    A breath of fresh air

    I really enjoyed these stories - they are original and honest. Any female between the ages of 18-30 will especially be able to relate to the characters. Nissen clearly has a gift - you won't be sorry you purchased this book and will probably find yourself buying it or recommending it to others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2001

    surprisingly delicious

    This book is amazing. She is one of the best story writers of our time. Each story is filled with intense characters with fascinating lives. I was so sad when the stories ended until the next one began. They are all intriguing and delightful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2000

    rivoting, edgy dialogue and tone...

    I have had the enormous pleasure of recently spending time with Thisbe Nissen. I must say that she is as richly gifted in her everyday prose as she is in her written words. As I read each of the stories in this wonderful collection, I was struck by the edgy use of discription and dialogue. Contemporary in tone and subject matter, Thisbee seems quite skilled at capturing the essense of the hearts of her characters. I was totally engaged...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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