“I glanced out the window as my train pulled into the station and saw the girl who killed my son.” So begins Josh Rolnick’s powerful debut collection of eight stories, which utilizes a richly focused narrative style accenting the unavoidable tragedies of life while revealing the grace and dignity with which people learn to deal with them. The storiesfour set in New Jersey and four in New Yorkspan the wide geographic tapestry of the area and demonstrate the interconnectedness of both the neighboring states and the residents who inhabit them.
In “Funnyboy,” a grief-stricken Levi Stern struggles to come to terms with the banality of his son’s accidental death at the hands of Missy Jones, high school cheerleader. In “Pulp and Paper,” two neighbors, Gail Denny and Avery Mayberry, attempt to escape a toxic spill resulting from a train derailment when a moment of compassion alters both their futures forever. “Innkeeping” features a teenager’s simmering resentment toward the burgeoning relationship between his widowed mother and a long-term hotel guest. “The Herald” introduces us to Dale, a devoted reporter on a small-town newspaper, desperately striving to break a big-time story to salvage his career and his ego. A teenager deals with the inconceivable results of his innocent act before an ice hockey game in “Big Lake.” And in “The Carousel,” a Coney Island carousel operator confronts the fading memories of a world that once overflowed with grandeur and promise. Throughout, Rolnick’s characters search for a firm footing while wrestling with life’s hardships, finding hope and redemption in the simple yet uncommon willingness to act.
Pulp and Paper captures lightning in a bottle, excavating the smallest steps people take to move beyond grief, heartbreak, and failureconjuring the subtle, fragile moments when people are not yet whole, but no longer quite as broken.
|Publisher:||University of Iowa Press|
|Series:||Iowa Short Fiction Award Series|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Josh Rolnick’s short stories have won the Arts & Letters Fiction Prize and the Florida Review Editor’s Choice Prize. They have also been published in Harvard Review, Western Humanities Review, Bellingham Review, and Gulf Coast, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New American Voices. A reporter, editor, and journal publisher, he grew up in New Jersey, spent summers camping his way through Upstate New York, and has lived in Jerusalem, London, Philadelphia, Iowa City, Washington, D.C., and Menlo Park, California. He currently lives with his wife and three sons in Akron, Ohio.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Definitely read it.