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 itsometimes at the last moment and in the most unlikely places. Quirky and hilarious, these stories display a knowing affection for human strangeness.
About 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.
Table of Contents
Pilgrim Girl 1
Five-Minute Hearts 27
Welcome to Yosemite 65
Yes, Yes, Cherries 85
Picture Head 103
The Straight and Narrow 141
The Next Door Girl 161
What People are Saying About This
"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 and Sister Noon)
"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)
"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?)