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Yes, Yes, Cherries:
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Yes, Yes, Cherries:

by Mary Otis
 

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Quirky and hilarious, yet deeply human, the stories in Yes, Yes, Cherries contain an affection for human strangeness while exploring the idea that truth tends more often to lie in the extremes and along the outer edges than it does at the center of things.
Exploring the idea that truth lies in life’s extremes, the partially linked stories in Yes, Yes,

Overview

Quirky and hilarious, yet deeply human, the stories in Yes, Yes, Cherries contain an affection for human strangeness while exploring the idea that truth tends more often to lie in the extremes and along the outer edges than it does at the center of things.
Exploring the idea that truth lies in life’s extremes, the partially linked stories in Yes, Yes, Cherries follow girls and women who are outsiders and find themselves in unusual circumstances. A lonely teenage girl falls in love with an older, married neighbor. A woman attends a party at the home of her boyfriend’s ex-wife. A schoolteacher gets fired for teaching time incorrectly to grade-school students. And a young woman recovering from a breakup receives guidance from a drunk therapist. Poignant and sharply rendered, Otis’s stories seek answers to the questions of whom we love and why, how we search for love, lose it, or find it—sometimes at the last moment and in the most unlikely places. Quirky and hilarious, these stories display a knowing affection for human strangeness.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Mary Otis sees things from the odd angle, which is the literary one. It makes her stories true-to-life, funny, brave, and amazing.”
—Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America and Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?

"Shame, spurned love and seething desire run through the sometimes-connected stories in Otis's adroit debut collection."
Publishers Weekly

"These are invisible people in pockets of the city that go under-chronicled . . . What ties them all together is Otis' strong voice, which is jittery and electric, unsettling like the Santa Ana winds . . . bringing the same eye for detail from one story to the next."
Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Yes, Yes, Cherries offers an intriguing batch of imperfect characters and unstable conditions. Otis has a sharp eye for people’s habits. She knows how to draw flawed relationships. And under her guidance, hearing about the agony of lust and love never gets old."
—Esquire.com

"In a collection of powerful short stories, Mary Otis shines light on how and why we fall in love . . . intimate stories of vastly different characters . . . Otis entertains with her remarkable observations about one of life’s great mysteries."
Wish Magazine

"Otis does a fine job recreating the contradictory impulses of reason and feeling. Her sharp, lively prose affectionately pinches the sallow cheeks of her many Allisons and maintains a tautness of rhythm that speaks to her ability as a sentence-crafter."
Small Spiral Notebook

"The characters in these stories— whether a teacher who teaches time incorrectly, a policeman-philosopher at the scene of an accident, or a young girl who wears a frosted blond wig and knocks on her neighbor’s door to sell 'what you need to buy'—show us what it means to be human. That’s all a reader asks of any story. That is, of course, everything. Mary Otis writes stories that radiate intelligence, compassion, and humor."
— Ellen Slezak, author of Last Year’s Jesus and All These Girls

“An assured collection, linked occasionally by character but always by Otis’s remarkable voice, her gift for the luminous detail, the surprising turn, the transcendent finish.”
—Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club

Yes, Yes, Cherries skates through the margins of American dreaming, its great poignancy balanced on heartbreaking absurdities. Mary Otis offers a dead-on candor spliced through with perceptual leaps, her realism glinting with near-psychotropic sparks. An irresistable collection, Yes, Yes, Cherries beautifully enacts the poetry of bewilderment.”
—Nancy Reisman, author of The First Desire and House Fires

Esquire
Yes, Yes, Cherries offers an intriguing batch of imperfect characters and unstable conditions. Otis has a sharp eye for people's habits. She knows how to draw flawed relationships. And under her guidance, hearing about the agony of lust and love never gets old. Of course, it's always more fun when it's happening to someone else.

Los Angeles Times Book Review
A bookstore clerk would rather envision a happy future with a stranger than face her date's disinterest. A woman's affair cools as she develops a strange tenderness toward her lover's wife. A mother sees her daughter sliding into macrobiotic oblivion, and no sacrifice can slow her descent. A teenage girl leaves a cultish Christian sect and, floating from a deadbeat druggie boyfriend to the fringes of the Russian mob, begins to create a new moral code. And a small boy watches his father hustle and fail to flow. What ties these stories together is Otis' strong voice, which is jittery and electric, unsettling like the Santa Ana winds that background the story "Welcome to Yosemite." The omniscient narrator follows closely over the shoulder of each protagonist, bringing the same eye for detail from one story to the next.

Wish Magazine
In a collection of powerful short stories, Mary Otis shines light on how and why we fall in love...intimate stories of vastly different characters...Otis entertains with her remarkable observations about one of life's great mysteries.

Booklist
Otis' keenly written debut short story collection features characters caught up in longing, indiscretion, and unrequited desire. In the heartbreaking "The Straight and Narrow," a mother tries desperately to connect with, and save, her "orthorexic" (suffering from an unhealthy obsession with eating allegedly healthy food) daughter while also coming to terms with her affair with a younger librarian. Several of the 10 fast-paced stories relate to the lovelorn Allison, introduced in the opening story, "Pilgrim Girl," as a hormonal 13-old yearning for the affection of her neighbor's husband while living under the watchful eyes of a prim mother and eccentric aunt. In "Welcome to Yosemite," Allison discovers her husband's infidelity. Later, in "Stones," a post-divorce Allison has an unusual run-in with her ex-husband (and his new family) and her alcoholic therapist. Otis' tales are clever and concise. The Allison stories are the most endearing, since her journey is as unexpected as so-called everyday life.

Publishers Weekly

Shame, spurned love and seething desire run through the sometimes-connected stories in Otis's adroit debut collection. Several concern the hapless young Allison, who struggles through the hormonal upheaval of adolescence in the first story, "Pilgrim Girl," by becoming infatuated with her married neighbor, Rick Wingert. Rick's wife, Janie, fusses excessively over Mr. Teddy Wonderful, her cat, signaling trouble to come—both for Allison and for Mr. Teddy. In "Welcome to Yosemite," Allison, married to unemployed chronic liar Phil, gets fired for misrepresenting the concept of time to her first-grade pupils and spots Phil acting too comfortable with spacey neighbor Audrey. In "Stones," Allison, now seeing a dubious therapist after the breakup of her marriage (Phil has wandered off with Audrey), is employed at a shady investment firm and accidentally-on-purpose hits Audrey's child in the head with a rock. Other stories delve into affairs (as in the title story, "Straight and Narrow"), and though they're sharply drawn, the collection is more notable for depth than for range. (May)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780977698905
Publisher:
Tin House Books
Publication date:
04/28/2007
Series:
Tin House New Voice Series
Pages:
212
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.25(h) x 0.70(d)

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What People are Saying About This

Ellen Slezak
"The characters in these stories, whether a teacher who teaches time incorrectly, a policeman-philosopher at the scene of an accident, or a young girl who wears a frosted blond wig and knocks on her neighbor's door to sell 'what you need to buy' show us what it means to be human. That's all a reader asks of any story. That is, of course, everything. Mary Otis writes stories that radiate intelligence, compassion, and humor."--(Ellen Slezak, author of Last Year's Jesus and All These Girls)
Karen Joy Fowler
"An assured collection, linked occasionally by character but always by Otis's remarkable voice, her gift for the luminous detail, the surprising turn, the transcendent finish."--(Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club and Sister Noon)
Nancy Reisman
"Yes, Yes, Cherries skates through the margins of American dreaming, it's great poignancy balanced on heartbreaking absurdities. Mary Otis offers a dead-on candor spliced through with perceptual leaps, her realism glinting with near-psychotropic sparks. An irresistible collection, Yes, Yes, Cherries beautifully enacts the poetry of bewilderment."--(Nancy Reisman, author of The First Desire and House Fires)
Lorrie Moore
"Mary Otis sees things from the odd angle, which is the literary one. It makes her stories true-to-life, funny, brave and amazing."--(Lorrie Moore, author of Birds in America and Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?)

Meet the Author

Mary Otis’s work has been published in Best New American Voices, Tin House, the Los Angeles Times, Cincinnati Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Berkeley Literary Journal, and Santa Monica Review. She was a runner-up in Zoetrope, Poets and Writers magazine, and Swink short story contests, and her short story “Pilgrim Girl” received a 2004 Pushcart Prize honorable mention. Originally from the Boston area, she lives in Los Angeles.

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