These bizarre and masterfully crafted stories will thrill readers of literary fiction who hunger for an innovative American voice. Publishers Weekly
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A blazingly original, profoundly moving new work of fiction
by a writer whose world–and imagination–knows no boundaries.
“I don’t know what planet Judy Budnitz comes from,” said
Newsweek on the publication of her fiction debut, Flying
Leap, “but I’m happy to have her. Tremendous . . . funny,
dark, adventurous, slanted, and enchanted.” These twelve
astonishingly inventive stories–which take us into the heart
of America and around the globe, from suburban backyards and
swimming pools to war-torn streets and fallout shelters–are
riveting, seductive, and impossible to forget.
In “Flush,” a mammogram prompts a dark comedy of blurred
identities between a mother and her two adult daughters. In
“Elephant and Boy,” a surrogate mother-and-son bond, tinged
with the erotic, is formed when a philanthropist attempts to
“civilize” a young elephant handler. “Nadia” sounds the
depths of a young woman’s complex feelings toward a friend’s
mail-order bride from Eastern Europe. “Preparedness”–an
Orwellian tale in Technicolor–imagines rapture in the wake
of imminent apocalypse. And in “Where We Come From,” a
pregnant woman’s many failed attempts to cross the border do
not lessen her resolve to give birth on U.S. soil to a “nice
big American baby.”
Magical, poignant, often transcendent, these are virtuoso
modern fables that mine our stores of hidden urges,
misunderstandings, and blind passions, inviting us on a
voyage through places and times at once deeply familiar and
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