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Separate Kingdoms: Stories
     

Separate Kingdoms: Stories

3.5 2
by Valerie Laken
 

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“A work of daunting versatility and technical skill, the product of a writer absolutely at home in the language and working vigorously within both new and old forms.” —Michael Byers, author of Long for this World and The Coast of Good Intentions 

From Pushcart Prize-winner Valerie Laken, author of Dream House,

Overview

“A work of daunting versatility and technical skill, the product of a writer absolutely at home in the language and working vigorously within both new and old forms.” —Michael Byers, author of Long for this World and The Coast of Good Intentions 

From Pushcart Prize-winner Valerie Laken, author of Dream House, comes a riveting short story collection charting the divisions and collisions between cultures and nations, families and lovers, selves and others in the United States and Russia. In the tradition of Lydia Peelle, Barbara Johnson, and David Mitchell, Laken creates incisive and illuminating portraits of characters coping with loss, estrangement, and disability, confined by their circumstances to separate kingdoms of the heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062041609
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/29/2011
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Valerie Laken's work has appeared in such publications as Ploughshares, the Missouri Review, and the Chicago Tribune. The winner of a Pushcart Prize, she teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Separate Kingdoms 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
A woman waiting in the hospital as her father lies dying. A man who is trying to help his wife regain her life after a horrible car accident that has taken her leg. Refugees trying to fit into the culture of another country. A man left behind in his parents' house as the neighborhood dissolves into poverty and decay. These are the protagonists in Valerie Laken's stories found in Separate Kingdoms. Each faces a challenge that separates them from others; each struggles to find a way to span the void and reestablish contact with those around them. Laken was born in Illinois and has lived and worked in Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic. Her work has appeared in journals such as Ploughshares, the Missouri Review, the Antioch Review and the Chicago Tribune. She has also written a novel, Dream House. She has won a Pushcart Prize, the Missouri Review Editors' Prize and two Hopwood Awards. Laken teaches at the Universary of Wisconsin. Readers interested in short stories will be struck by the stark beauty of Laken's stories. Her characters face challenges, some of them bodily, some of them isolation, but regardless of their bleak situations, a tendril of hope insists on growing and searching for connection and a better tomorrow. This book is recommended for readers of modern fiction and those searching for an answer to how others face the everyday challenges life throws at most of us sooner or later.
ReviewsByMolly More than 1 year ago
Okay. Let's see. This was different. This was not what I was expecting. This was not your average, every day quick read. It wasn't a long book to read. No, nothing like that. The author did a great job at breaking it done into eight different stories, but I didn't really grasp them like I wanted to. These short stories were, simply put, interesting. Families divided, so to speak. Divided by life's challenges. Divided by emotions. Simply divided, and trying to over come that great space between them. Taken between Russia and America, Laken creates these short stories with dark emotions. She creates them with everyday life issues and turns them into stories that aren't your normal stories. With stories like FAMILY PLANNING, about a lesbian couple in Russia trying to adopt....well that is one that, while interesting, wasn't one I would want to read again. Reading through these, expecting something different, well I can honestly say that I didn't really like any of them. They were too dark in their emotions and not what I was expecting at all. Sadly, I can only give book 3 stars. I, myself, will not be reading this one again. However, I can recommend this book to those who like the darker emotion filled stories. They are well written, but just not my taste.