With humor, wisdom and tenderness, Ann Packer offers ten short stories about women and men--wives and husbands, sisters and brothers, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, friends, and lovers--who discover that life's greatest surprises may be found in that which is most familiar.
In the title story, on the anniversary of their father's suicide a young woman discovers that her brother may have found a "reason for living" in the love of a good woman. In "Nerves," a young man realizes that the wife he is separated from no longer loves him but that it is his own life he misses, not her. The narrator of "My Mother's Yellow Dress" is a gay man remembering his deceased mother and their vital and troubling intimacy. In "Babies"--which was included in the prestigious O. Henry anthology series --a single woman in her mid-thirties finds that everyone, including her best friend at work, is pregnant, and that their joy can only be observed, not shared. In these and six other stories, Ann Packer exhibits an unerring eye for the small ways in which people reveal themselves and for the moments in which lives may be transformed.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Mendocino and Other Stories|
|Release Date: 11-26-2008|
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|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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Mendocino and Other Stories
Bliss is driving north on Highway 1, looking at the crashing Pacific. She would like to pull the car over and walk along the water's edge, but there is no beach here, only cliffs jutting out over the ocean. The mountains, the road, the water-it's so gorgeous it's getting monotonous. So she begins to make small promises to herself. If Gerald starts in on the beauty of the self-sufficient life, she will allow herself a solitary one-hour walk. If Marisa invites her to join in the baking of bread or the pickling of cucumbers or the gathering of fresh-laid eggs, she will invent a friend who lives nearby with whom she has promised to have a drink. These people-her younger brother, Gerald, and his girlfriend, Marisa (his R.F.L., as he calls her, his Reason For Living, and, really, this irks Bliss as much as anything else)-live in Mendocino County, two and a half hours north of San Francisco, a mile from the coast, in a small, isolated house of their own design. It is, Bliss remembers, a nice enough house, made tacky by a pair of stained glass windows that flank the front door-windows that Marisa made. She is, Gerald has said more than once, an artisan. Life for Marisa-and, now, for Gerald-is about using your hands whenever you can. Bliss has been tempted in the past to point out that your brain must contribute something to this equation, but she is determined to keep all snide remarks to herself on this visit. After all, it will be the first time she has seen them in over a year. And, too, today is the tenth anniversary of their father's suicide. She wants to be on her best behavior.
Bliss would like to think that this reu...