Other People We Married

Other People We Married

by Emma Straub

Paperback

$15.00
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, May 30

Overview

The beloved debut story collection from the New York Times-bestselling author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594486067
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/07/2012
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 384,957
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Emma Straub is the New York Times‒bestselling author of Modern Lovers, The Vacationers, and Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalVogueElle, and Condé Nast Traveler, and she is a contributing writer for Rookie. Straub's work has been published in fifteen countries.

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!)

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION
“A rising literary star debuts with twelve wry, poignant stories of love, hope, and transformation.

In this vibrant collection, Emma Straub creates characters as recognizable as a best friend, and follows them through moments of triumph and transformation with wit, vulnerability, and dazzling insight. These stories, filled with the sharp humor, emotional acuity, and joyful language that are sure to become Straub’s hallmarks, announce the arrival of a major new talent.



ABOUT EMMA STRAUB

Emma Straub is from New York City. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published by Tin House, The Paris Review Daily, Slate, and Cousin Corinne’s Reminder. She is a staff writer for Rookie. Emma lives with her husband in Brooklyn, where she also works as a bookseller.

“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

“In these stories of grief, love, loss and transplantation, Emma Straub demonstrates her brilliance, her humor, her sharp observational powers, as well as her lyrical gifts and affection for the world. She is a terrific new talent.” —Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America and A Gate at the Stairs



DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • In “Some People Must Really Fall in Love,” Amy harbors the fantasy of being with her much–younger student, Paul, despite their age difference. Why does he seem more appealing to her than Martin, an available man of her own age?
  • In “Rosemary,” Claire hires a pet psychic when her cat goes missing. What does the psychic, Vivian, give her that her husband cannot? Do you think Claire really believes that Vivian will be able to help her find her missing cat? Why do you think Claire is so reluctant to tell her husband about Vivian?
  • Discuss the ending of “A Map of Modern Palm Springs.” Do you think Lizzie would leave Abigail in the desert? How do Lizzie’s desires compare to her actions over the course of the story?
  • Discuss how the dynamic between Jackie and Franny changes throughout the course of “Pearls.” How has Franny changed or stayed the same in “Other People We married” and “Mohawk”? How do we see her character evolve?
  • In “Abraham’s Enchanted Forest,” Greta’s life is filled with fantasy—from living in her parents pseudo–amusement park to her father’s part–time job as a Walt Whitman impersonator. What role does Nathan play in this fantasy world? Is he more fantasy or reality? What does it mean that Greta chooses to stay?
  • In “Fly–Over State,” Sophie and Mud form somewhat of an unlikely friendship. What do you think draws them together? Sophie frequently compares New York to her new home in Wisconsin. How, if at all, has the move affected Sophie and James’ relationship?
  • “Other People We Married” is, in some ways, about the baggage that comes with any relationship. Discuss how the relationship between Jim, Franny, and Charles either confirms or rejects this idea.
  • Do you think part of the reason Laura agrees to go to Rome with Stephen in “Puttanesca” is that it will remind her of her late husband, John? Stephen buys Laura an expensive handbag, which seems to make her more uneasy than any of his other large expenditures, like their pricy hotel room. Why do you think this purchase is so off–putting to Laura?
  • In “Marjorie and the Birds,” Marjorie takes up bird watching after her husband dies and describes it not as “a hobby at all, but like agreeing to be more observant” (p. 171). Do you find Marjorie to be an observant person in other aspects of her life?
  • In “Mohawk,” Jim embodies several stereotypically “feminine” concerns and attitudes, such as wanting more children and worrying about his son when he goes to sleep away camp. How do these characteristics play out in the relationship between him and his wife, Fran?
  • The epiphanies in these stories are subtle. What are some of the recurring themes and motifs in the collection? What, if anything, do the characters here learn and/or come to terms with?
  • Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    See All Customer Reviews

    Other People We Married 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
    Al_Necro More than 1 year ago
    Emma Straub is a fine author, and Other People We Married is rich with her subtle but persuasive talent. There's humor in every turn. Every detail is almost alarmingly perceptible through her keen observation of everyday life. She's articulate without sounding like a textbook, or a medical dictionary. The language is hardly spare, drifting between everyday ease and profound articulacy. Her characters are richly depicted and her scenes are so vivid, only a picture would prove to be better. Somehow reading her prose gives a more thorough, complete existence than immersing yourself in actual experience. It's not always funny though, as proven in her story, Abraham's Enchanted Forest, briefly touching on subtle heartache and tragedy without blowing it up into a tear-jerker replete with crumpled tissue paper everywhere. Sometimes, it's so subtle, it takes careful consideration to notice, and those are the plots that I love the most because they're the most effective. After all, not everything in life is melodramatic. Straub entertains as much as she writes striking, moving prose - vivid and full of life. Her characters are realistic and they're hard not to like. I can't name one story in her collection I dislike in all truth. Her magic, like I said, is subtle but persuasive. Just like in her story Pearls, echoing a near flawless rendition of what lies beyond greater awareness of circumstances that are less than ideal. They serve to enlighten us. This reeks every bit like the rotten egg water of last story, Hot Springs Eternal. Emma Straub is a writer that delights in real situations, situations that any one of us can relate to. Her collection of stories is not fantastical fiction, nor is it plainly rhetorical. She unmasks the transcendental in mundane everyday situations, characters that seem so real, we feel their immutable joys and sorrows long after we've read the book. That is a book to immerse oneself in. That is the sort of book you won't want to miss.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The sample doesn't even make it all the way through the library of congress. Not sure if this is a mistake or intentional, but it should be corrected.