In the opening story of Geary Hobson’s riveting new collection, Plain of Jars, a young private confides to his friend that he’s trying to leave the Marine Corps. “I am not doing this just because I find the Marine Corps too tough,” Warren Needham says, but because violence is contradictory to his faith. The story’s surprising climax, however, reveals a different side of Needham’s contradictory nature. It’s this acute understanding of conflict that characterizes Plain of Jars, a book populated by bullies, men in combat, abusive spouses, and Native Americans seeking a sense of personal identity in an environment where conformity is law. The U.S. Marine Corps sets the stage for a number of these stories, whose protagonists combat racism, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and the looming reality of the Vietnam War. With pitch perfect dialogue and a sense of the unexpected, Plain of Jars tests the depths of complex lives.
The first comprehensive volume in English from one of Hungary’s most popular twentieth-century writers.
Iván Mándy (1918–1995) has been called “the prose poet of Budapest,” and this volume of short stories presents the first comprehensive collection of his work in English. His early oeuvre created an urban mythology full of picaresque characters inhabiting the seedier neighborhoods of the city: its flea-market stalls, second-run cinemas, and old-fashioned coffeehouses. The stories from the later decades of Mándy’s life, often bordering on the absurd, introduce many autobiographical elements spun around the author’s alter-ego, János Zsámboky, whose hapless adventures on a rare trip abroad constitute this group of stories, including “Postcard from London.” Mándy’s unique style at times borrows techniques from films and radio plays, his quirky cuts creating a flicker of images seen in the mind’s eye. Memory and perception, time and place spin in narrative legerdemain that invites and rewards the reader’s active participation.
Jane Bradley's career was launched when the University of Arkansas Press published her first collection of short stories, Power Lines, in 1989. The collection, lauded at the time by the New York Times, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and others, is available again, bringing readers this writing filled with sympathy for and understanding of ordinary lives, and as the New York Times book review said at its publication, writing filled also with promise for Bradley’s future.
Anne Calcagno's exhilaratingly original first collection of short stories vividly captures the textures of women's lives. Her style is at once idiomatic and metaphorical; her dramatic situations are extreme, edgy, and utterly convincing. Calcagno's characters grapple with problems ranging from domestic violence to obsession with body weight, and speak with conviction and authority about the complex obstacles in their lives. She writes of the desperation of fragile families, of sibling rivalries, of husbands and wives hanging onto or running from each other.
Longlisted for the 2021 Pen America Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection Prize
Longlisted for the 2020 Story Prize
Exploring what it means to be human through the Korean diaspora, Caroline Kim’s stories feature many voices. From a teenage girl in 1980’s America, to a boy growing up in the middle of the Korean War, to an immigrant father struggling to be closer to his adult daughter, or to a suburban housewife whose equilibrium depends upon a therapy robot, each character must face their less-than-ideal circumstances and find a way to overcome them without losing themselves. Language often acts as a barrier as characters try, fail, and momentarily succeed in connecting with each other. With humor, insight, and curiosity, Kim’s wide-ranging stories explore themes of culture, communication, travel, and family. Ultimately, what unites these characters across time and distance is their longing for human connection and a search for the place—or people—that will feel like home.
These newly collected short stories reveal a master at the top of his game. Drago Jancar possesses an acute understanding of the human psyche, enabling his stories to resonate beyond their particular milieu. This collection features seven pieces, drawn from four different collections, that together present the struggle of individuals against powerful forces. The characters try to make sense of a world of shifting borders and changing names that make the idea of a "homeland"—either literal or figurative—a dream rather than a reality.