Pamela Ryder - Employing varying styles and shifting perspectives, traversing overlapping timelines as death advances and retreats, Paradise Field recounts a WWII bomber pilot’s last years and his eventual decline, the complex relationship with the daughter he’s never really known

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Pamela Ryder, Paradise Field: A Novel in Stories, Fiction Collective 2, 2018.
read it at Google Books

Pamela Ryder’s stories vary in style and perspective, and time lines overlap as death advances and retreats. This unique and shifting narrative explores the complexities of a relationship in which the father—who has been a high-flying outsider—descends into frailty and becomes dependent upon the daughter he has never really known.

Interconnected stories depicting the last years of a WWII bomber pilot, his relationship with his daughter as both child and adult, and his drift into infirmity and death.
When life dwindles to its irrevocable conclusion, recollections are illuminated, even unto the grave. Such is the narrative of Paradise Field: A Novel in Stories, whose title is taken from a remote airfield in the American Southwest, and while the father recalls his flying days, his daughter—who nurses the old man—reflects as well.
Pamela Ryder’s stories vary in style and perspective, and time lines overlap as death advances and retreats. This unique and shifting narrative explores the complexities of a relationship in which the father—who has been a high-flying outsider—descends into frailty and becomes dependent upon the daughter he has never really known.
The opening story, “Interment for Yard and Garden,” begins as a simple handbook for Jewish burial and bereavement, although the narrator cannot help but reveal herself and her motives. From there, the telling begins anew and unfolds chronologically, returning to the adult daughter’s childhood: a family vacation in France, the grotesqueries of the dinner table, the shadowy sightings of a father who has flown away.
A final journey takes father and daughter back to the Southwest in search of Paradise Field. Their travels through that desolate landscape foreshadow the father’s ultimate decline, as portrayed in the concluding stories that tell of the uneasy transformation in the bond between them and in the transcendence of his demise. Taken together, the stories in Paradise Field are an eloquent but unsparing depiction of infirmity and death, as well as solace and provocation for anyone who has been left to stand graveside and confront eternity.

“Let’s not futz around. I’m old, a Jew, a man who, but for the fates in charge of the trivialities, might have been Ryder’s father. Well, for all that, I am Ryder’s father or, anyhow, a father of Ryder, and will, accordingly, go agreeably to my grave praising her name as if my doing so might work for my daughter the favor of the gods. Let me tell you—in the matter of my thinking what must be said when an occasion such as this has come to take me by the heart: it was with tears in my eyes that I made my way through the pages recording Ryder’s mission to bury her dead in a manner unique among the methods practiced by humankind. Her art is water for the thirsty, sustenance for the deprived. I ask you, which of us is not perishing from the logic of the insufficiency woven into the world’s conceivable answer to our unappeasable cries? Ryder, her soul, her sentences, they are one thing, and this totality is given as an exception—the valedictory gesture of a mensch, this Pamela Ryder, enacting her livelong promise via the ceremonies of Paradise Field. Listen to me—my daughter brings comfort, brings balm, brings the exhilarations of loving and kinship to all those who would, by words, be cured.”—Gordon Lish

At once moving and merciless, Paradise Field presents in collage the life of a father as seen through a daughter's eyes, from her early life to his death and beyond.  An engaging and beautifully written meditation on endings, and how we do (or don't) manage to stumble past them."—Brian Evenson

“Ryder writes with wit, brio, and laser-like honesty about her father—a man who, having eluded her for decades, is now at the end of his life. The Kafkaesque nature of caretaking and the obscene depredations of age are interlaced with a kind of cockeyed delight: eating a blintz in hell, regarding the clouds, giving death the (frail) finger. Ryder has both the ear of a poet and the soul of a warrior.”
Dawn Raffel

Pamela Ryder’s Paradise Field is a novel in stories that stands out for the variety of structures, voices, and styles employed throughout. They convey the relationship between the protagonist and her elderly father. These stories hold up as complete individual works (many were published in their own right), but they coalesce memorably into a meaningful father-daughter narrative.
“Interment for Lawn and Garden: A Practical Guide” begins as a dry third-person explanation of Jewish burial practices before it slips into some specifics about the daughter’s burial of her father. This is followed by the title story, one of the collection’s strongest. “Paradise Field” is set when the daughter was little, when her father flew planes all over the country and their relationship meant picture postcards, long-distance phone calls, and requests for specific souvenirs that were never delivered.
“Recognizable Constellations and Familiar Objects of the Night Sky in Early Spring” takes the form of a surreal conversation between the daughter and her father’s nursing home, in which the since-relocated old man wandered off among the various constellations. “Badly Raised and Talking With the Rabbi” is a conversation between two snarky guests bad-mouthing the daughter at the funeral, written as straight dialogue between the duo.
“The Song Inside the Plate” again flashes back to the daughter’s childhood and is a simple dinner scene written from the perspective of a child observing, and where all the pieces fit. “Mitzvah,” written in the second person, shows the adult daughter navigating a hospital bureaucracy that confuses her father with a similarly named patient, capturing the frustrating conversations with the front desk and the daughter’s concern about proper care and treatment.
Every one of Ryder’s stories is a strong contribution to this patchwork novel. The stories don’t shy away from the difficult times in the characters’ past, the challenging realities of aging and taking care of an elderly parent, or even the assigned responsibilities of shopping for an appropriate coffin or following tradition when dumping dirt in the grave. Paradise Field is a strong whole made of fascinating parts. - Jeff Fleischer

The "novel in stories" has become an increasingly common form in current American fiction, so while Pamela Ryder's Paradise Field is recognizable enough in its use of the developing conventions of the form, it expands the possibilities of this hybrid genre just enough to warrant publication by a press (FC2) that is one of the longest-lived publishers of "experimental" fiction, and illustrates that the "story novel" still might hold some potential for surprising us.
The overarching narrative to which the individual stories contribute (although not necessarily sequentially) concerns the final decline and death of the protagonist's father. These two characters (the protagonist is referred to throughout simply as "the daughter") and their at times problematic relationship emerge as the book's primary focus, but not every story in fact directly concerns them. Still, even the stories set elsewhere (France, in "The Renoir Put Straight") or apparently about other characters ("Arrow Rock") depict experiences universal enough (a young child observing the behavior of the adults around her in the former story, for example) that they might surely echo the lives of the daughter and her father, or may in fact refer obliquely to these two characters even if they are not directly identified (the characters in a motel room in "Arrow Rock"). "Badly Raised and Talking With the Rabbi" apparently takes place at the father's funeral, but in this case the daughter is identified only indirectly through a one-sided conversation carried on by the woman who may have been the father's live-in girlfriend.
This latter character makes a couple of appearances in the book, although her relationship with the father is not much developed. Since this is finally a collection of stories, however, such development is not a generic requirement, as "unity of effect" properly applies first to the discrete story and its self-sufficient aesthetic needs. This gives Paradise Field as a whole a more impressionistic surface quality while at the same time preserving the distinction between "story" and "novel," the tension between the two helping to sharpen our sense of how a "novel in stories" might be defined as a category of fiction in its own right, not simply as a series of stories with in-common characters or setting, or as an "episodic" novel. How far beyond the sort of unity we expect to find in a novel can such a book as this go, it seems to ask implicitly, and still have a broader coherence that transcends the separate goals of each particular story?
The book's impressionism is further reinforced by the variety of technique employed in the individual stories. The first, "Internment for Yard and Garden: A Practical Guide" takes the form of an instructional pamphlet for the "suburban Jew" on the proper disposition of the recently deceased, which begins to periodically blend together with specific details about the case of the daughter and her father, thus introducing us to this situation as the book's subject. The second story, the title story, takes us back to the daughter's childhood and narrates a series of phone calls between father and daughter that seems to establish the father's frequent absences from home as the source of the daughter's ambivalence about their relationship. Other stories emphasize the father's nostalgia about his days as an air force pilot, while eventually attention focuses mostly on the daughter's efforts to care for the father in the last stages of his old age.
Many stories rely substantially on dialogue, but others, such as "The Song Inside the Plate" and "Irregulars" consist of long blocks of prose. Similarly, some are more fully developed narratives that could be called "stories" of the conventional kind, while others, such as "Recognizable Constellations and Familiar Objects of the Night Sky in Early Spring," rely more on juxtaposition and association, while still others are very brief scenes that might qualify as flash fiction. Most of the stories are told in the third-person, with the viewpoint staying very close to that of the daughter (although without much attempt at "free indirect" psychologizing), but "Mitzvah" (about the father's stay in a nursing home) brings us even closer to the daughter's perspective by instead employing a second-person narration, the references to the daughter as "you" giving us an even more immediate appreciation of the daughter's troubles by implicating us in her actions. In the book's final story, "In Other Hemispheres," the daughter visits with her father's spirit one final time as his coffin is being taken to the cemetery, where the image of his body being lowered into the ground merges with one final reverie returning him to the cockpit of his airplane as it falls to earth.
While Paradise Field is formally interesting, however, what finally commends this book most to readers interested in something other than the customary sort of literary fiction is its way with language, a style that seems perfectly suited to the subject and methods of the book but that also seems reminiscent of the more adventurous prose of writers such as Noy Holland or Dawn Raffel. These are writers influenced by Gordon Lish (who indeed provides a back cover blurb for Paradise Field as well), and Ryder's fiction does feature the kind of sentence building and sonic effects identified with Lish's approach to writing:
They went to where there would be canyons, where the daughter had once walked in her younger years, had traveled along the bluffs and ledges, had seen those vast regions of sage and mesa cleft with chasms of stone and the rivers of their incisions--and now wanting the father to see--while there was still time, while there was still breath and sense and flow through these most turbulent of tributaries within his fisted heart--wanting the father to see again what he had already seen, though long ago and largely from the air. ("As Those Who Know the Dead Will Do")
In an interview, Ryder says of style in fiction that "Language always prevails over content. You’ve got to let the language win out, even if it changes what you think you want to say" ("Through the Viewfinder: Pamela Ryder with Peter Markus"). In the above passage (the first paragraph of the story), we can see a sentence in the process of "winning out." It seems to continually extend itself, adding detail and changing direction, not simply to accumulate information but to seek out the possibilities of its own prolongation and potential associations, through such devices as assonance, consonance, alliteration, and repetition. These stratagems are applied lightly, so that the wordplay doesn't distract from a story's expository and descriptive imperatives, but almost every story offers passages that might prompt us to pause and consider the dexterity with which the sentences take shape, making Paradise Field a consistently pleasurable and rewarding reading experience. -
Through the Viewfinder: PAMELA RYDER with Peter Markus
Pamela Ryder writes sentences like no other writer I know. I remember my first encounter with her fiction, a story called “Hovenweep” as it appeared as the opening story in Gordon Lish’s The Quarterly #29, a story that begins, “We are too much in the open here: sky, sky, slick rock, heat, and high above us the circling birds.” What is this word Hovenweep? I remember asking myself. Might it be a made-up word to go along with the world of a made-up fiction? It was a dizzying reading experience right out of the gate, one filled with the sensations that I go out seeking when I pick up any work of fiction, any work of art: to be bewitched by what I see and hear, by what I hold. I was immediately held. And was not let go, and did not want to let go, for all the sentences that then followed. “We are left too much unshadowed by the shape of them,” the second sentence then went on to say, “escaping past the canyon walls, winging down the stone, unshaded by the deer-stripped juniper that juts above the river.” I knew I was in a place. I was placed inside this place: a place of shadow and light, stone and bird. I was sold, not so much by what was being said, but by how the sentences were being delivered and slung, fasted as they were to the page, and to my eye. I could not, I dared not, I did not want to look away. The magic of fiction was taking place here in this moment: the given being displaced by the made. I remember, too, soon after I read this story, taking it in with me to a fiction class I was teaching and reading the story aloud to my students, and trying not to stop at the end of each sentence to marvel at the joys to be found at the stoppage of every period: the shapes of the sounds, the rivers that Ryder was able to carve out of stone, the images of blood squeezed from ink. That story, “Hovenweep,” a word I still to this day don’t know what it means or if it is a made up word or if it, perhaps, makes reference to a kind of flower, or weed, a thing of the actual world, later appeared in Ryder’s second book, the collection of stories A Tendency to Be Gone. Open this book to any page and read at random any one of the sentences you’ll find there and expect to be immediately transported to worlds made of dirt and stone and heart. Yes, more than anything else, Ryder is a writer of ferocity and the bravest of hearts. Her new book, Paradise Field, digs even deeper than ever before into the fertile ground of family and fathers and daughterhood and tells us what it is to live and die with strength and grace and indignity and meaning, what it means and what it feels to be, in the end, left alone to our own devices. What it means, in the end of all endings, to tend to those emotionally loamy gardens, to give due passage and a ritualized bidding adieu to those we call our own—in this case the father of this book, a WWII fighter pilot, a man who most often, in Ryder’s own words, was a man “gone, flying to parts far-flung.” I had the pleasure of asking Ryder some questions by email about this latest book and her life as a writer and what it is that keeps driving her sentences. - Peter Markus read more
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Pamela Ryder, Correction of Drift: A Novel in Stories

Explores the lives behind the headlines of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, evoking anew the scope of tragedy through the vision of literary fiction.

It was called the crime of the century, and it was front-page news: the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Correction of Drift: A Novel in Stories imagines the private lives behind the headlines of the case, and examines the endurance—and demise—of those consumed by the tragedy.
Every character brings a different past life to the event, be it a life of celebrity, or of misfortune and obscurity. There is Anne Morrow Lindbergh—daughter of a millionaire, the shy poet who married a national hero; Charles Lindbergh—the rough-and-tumble Minnesota barnstormer, who at age twenty-five made the first transatlantic flight, bringing him world-wide prestige; Violet—the skittish family maid with a curious attachment to the boy and a secret life that lapses into hysteria and self-destruction; and the kidnappers—an assembly of misfits with their own histories of misery. All are bound by the violence, turmoil, and mystery of the child’s disappearance as it becomes evident that each life has been irrevocably changed. Patterns of bereavement and loss illuminate these stories: despair at the death of a child; the retreat into seclusion; the comfort and the desolation of a marriage. But the heart of this novel is the far-reaching nature of tragedy, and the ways the characters go on to live—or end—their lives.

"Pamela Ryder opens up the well-known story of the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby to illuminate the ways we drift off course—perpetrator, victim, caretaker, witness—and are subsumed by the dream of memory and longing. With gorgeously precise language, she slips between the cracks in intractable surfaces, revealing the inexpressible word."—Dawn Raffel

"I first read Pam Ryder's eloquent stories over ten years ago, and thought she was one of the most powerful prose stylists I had ever encountered. Correction of Drift is dazzling, original, and brings something completely new to American letters."—Pat Conroy

“Ryder, Ryder, you’ve done it, you have done it!—made that which no one else has made. Isn’t firstness the consolation? Ask the ghost of Lucky Lindy. Oh, the occurrences, with what cruelty they will come to have their way with us. But to have been first at something, first at anything, as in having crossed an uncrossable distance—by air, let us say, or by word—is this not the deed? And thus, in proof of this, the luck of those who hold this ghostly book, this inconsolable haunting, in hand.”—Gordon Lish

“Correction of Drift is a dreamy divagation of a novel, an elegiac lullaby, soothing and terrible, sung over the empty crib in the Lindbergh nursery. Ryder reimagines the event in shard-like sentences, some pretty as beach glass and others ugly and sharp, and these sentences and the sentence fragments and the headlines and ransom notes accrue to powerful effect until even the table scraps, "crusts, bones, trimmings of fat," seem ominous portents of violence and loss.”—Christine Schutt

"Ryder moves beyond fact -- the kidnapping of a child -- to explore the echo between the real and the unreal, between the historical and the imagined. The result is less amorphous: a fully realized work, which reveals Ryder as an irresistible, lyrical storyteller." --Renée E. D’Aoust

About the Crime of the Century! The Lindbergh Baby kidnapping! Aren’t you interested in the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping?!?
extremely beautiful and attentive writing in this short story collection (billed as “a novel in stories”) sometimes stilted due to the iconic nature of its subject, written around the kidnapping and murder of the then Most Famous Couple’s firstborn.
[which, maybe today, would be the equivalent of shiloh pitt. pause to imagine the parallel sound and fury.]
precise and sustained attention to detail. the opening chapter has the layered density of absalom absalom. what’s most cool is the atmosphere achieved of depression-era america. it’s in her verb choice. not just the repeating of archaic brand names and gone places, but those acts and habits that people used to do and now do no longer…
but part of the challenge i think of writing this type of historical novel is getting away from the textbook narrative. it’s the somewhat contradictory act of hanging your book on the peg of history but making a reader forget that this is capital H History and rendering a more lowercase h personal history… so i liked the stories best that dealt with the more minor characters–the maid, the wife of the kidnapper bruno hauptmann character–where there was room for the author to move outside the iconic. in these chapters Ryder allowed herself to imagine interior lives, pasts, and the narrative gets more momentum going. in fact the real pleasure of the book for me was simply in fully entering german-american immigrant life in 1930s nyc. in contrast, in the chapters devoted to lindbergh and his wife, the two are somewhat reduced to their roles of action hero and socialite, and we’re left, somewhat stalled, at the surface of history.
(plus, since roth’s THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA i’m sort of ruined, unable to really see lucky lindy as anything more than a fascist antisemite, a george W prototype–and this aspect of the guy interestingly comes up zilch in the book.)
still, an enormous care is taken with the writing, always elegant, never purple and truly gorgeous at times. one to watch. - Eugene Lim

What do you remember of the Lindbergh affair? That lost baby? Perhaps you heard once about how the man who flew the “Spirit of St. Louis” across the ocean lost his baby to thieves through the second-story nursery window. Older generations could never forget this sad and media-frenzied event if they tried, while younger generations might know no facts of the kidnapping and murder at all. Regardless of the amount of knowledge you bring to Pamela Ryder’s Correction of Drift: A Novel in Stories you will be horrified, saddened, yet overall entertained as she transforms this historical event into tangible personal histories of the people involved.
The novel, written in nine stories linked by content and separated by nine different perspectives (from the kidnappers, to Lindbergh, Mrs. Lindbergh, the maid, wife of the accused, etc), contains the beautiful and unconventional/experimental poetic style for which this press (FC2) is known. Sometimes the prose moves through events and descriptions purposefully, as when Ryder is describing the immigrant culture of New York City in the early part of the twentieth century. Other times the language is playful, pure poetry—“Did he ever see the birds that dip into the waves, just above the foam where the sea becomes air?”
Moving from the first to the second (and title) story, the extreme close third-person narrative, including ominous flashbacks to the kidnappers’ childhoods, has become the highly self-conscious compulsiveness of a man who has always been so careful to see to every detail trying to come to terms with what overlooked factors could have led to his son’s disappearance. Thanks to Ryder’s elegant prose one can almost agree with him. How could someone steal a baby out of a room with a newly silvered mirror? “There had been self-reliance, priority, order.” Cross-atlantic flight is compared to “solitude, safety of woods surrounding the house.” At times the comparison becomes too adamant, “he sees the crib, the rails, the bars of moonlight”—as if for one second the reader might miss the parallels, the repetition. Even these distractions can be overlooked as Ryder’s wording remains lovely and engaging throughout.
As the second (his) story turns into the third (written in the bad grammar of the ransom notes), then fourth (Mrs. Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s perspective), his focus on details leads to her fastidious homemaking. In his story we note her meticulous dress, in hers we see the commanding woman of the house who keeps her famous husband together. While the characterization of Mrs. seems simplistic in its primary focus of things commonly known, such as her love of fashion and seashells, we are drawn in by the repetition that runs parallel to Mr. Lindbergh’s checking and rechecking. In this (her story) his tendency to thoroughness is used against him. That the nursery window never shut tight is a contentious detail that becomes an obsessive, recurring image that shifts slightly in tenor with each passing mention. Even their luggage in leaving becomes equated to the window: “She will attend to the lock, the straps, the latch. She will see to it that nothing else is lost.”
Each subsequent story not only adds something new but also complicates and transforms, building upon and re-imagining the previous stories and information given. With the novel wrapping up in a tourist’s perspective of visiting the house years after the fact, it seems the only angle missing is an account from one of the many men who have come forward claiming to be the Lindbergh baby.
Also striking is the heavy use throughout of historical headlines about the event to precede each story. The headlines, often heartbreakingly conflicting, fill any gap in the reader’s basic knowledge of the Lindbergh history, so that Ryder’s lyric prose can get at the emotional experience behind each separate perspective. A truly fascinating read. - Elizabeth J. Colen

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Pamela Ryder, A Tendency Be Gone, Dzanc Books2013. 

The stories herein transport us through realms as varied as the language that tells these tales. "We are too much in the open here," says the narrator of “Hovenweep” visiting the Canyonlands and finding her life laid bare against a landscape of desolation. In “Tendrils, As It Were", the ribbons that bind a wedding bouquet unravel as surely as the marriage does. “Arroyo” takes the reader on a road trip through the desert and into a relationship that is “past the point of pulling over, turning back.” In “Solstice,” a coalminer’s wife busies herself with ordinary chores rendered luminous while she awaits her husband’s return from the “everlasting winters of the pit". The explorers of “Overland” search for the source of a river in terrain as tangled as their motives, while the purpose of the expedition disintegrates. The off-kilter bishop of “In the Matter of the Prioress” accuses a nun of unearthly seductions, but cannot help divulge his private passions. In “A Tendency to Be Gone,” a recluse portrays isolation in the language of enchantments, and reveals the talismans that keep her secrets safe. “Seraphim” delivers us to a mediaeval convent as plague sweeps the Continent, and its inhabitants face the devastation to come. With sentences that are plain and precise, or lush and illuminating, this collection is a guide through the literary habitations of uncertainty and the topographies obsession and redemption

"When Ryder offers you a furrow, and this she will do, this she will do, here’s my advice: not to tarry, not to resist; hasten, instead, to fetch yourself down into the narrows with her, and find there a sensorium unlikely to crop up in your experience without your having the luck of her fastidious companionship in the lead. Ryder is a vigilance, a pervigilance, a field guide with scruples on every page." -- Gordon Lish

"There is a powerful alchemy at work in these stories, transforming everyday words and giving them new life, luster, and meaning. Ryder's is the rare and wonderful prose." -- Lydia Peelle

"I had him once to hold. I have a stone to hold. From this day forward. We go forward, we watch the road, we listen for the hills. I listen to the stone: there is no singing. Once there was singing; we were singing. We were kneeling and we sang the words we knew. There was a ringing bell, fingered rings, him never to be slipping through my fingers, my folded hands. There was a hymn, a hollow sound. There was a joyful noise. There was a moon-white paper marked with my name, his name. The paper was unfolded, unfrayed. We were not afraid. We would take a chance. We would last. We would stay awake, see signs."
The words move you and the stories carry you away. That's what they're for, to take you somewhere else, maybe somewhere new, whether it be down the road or a thousand years ago. Stories create new worlds or they make our world new, imbued with magic, with wonder.
My mother asked me for the hundredth time in the almost month since I've been back what I want to do, what interests me. I told her, Nothing matters so much as stories.
"My father is out on the curb, picking through the throwaways. He is what I have folded. He is holding a shirt to his shirtlessness. He is showing me what to save by taking a stitch in time."
Pamela Ryder's A Tendency to be Gone offers stories that matter, the kind that transport you, that move you, emotionally, geographically, temporally. No two stories are the same in terms of style or even content -- from lyrical to declarative to almost Victorian, she builds reality around us. And though the collection is diverse, it is cohesive.
The title sticks in my head and it's very appropriate for the collection. There is a strong sense of things past, of something gone, of leaving, as well as a greater force at work, whether it be god or devils or the enormity of nature, the insistence of Time. Within these she weaves lives, sometimes broken, other times breaking, but always searching. For what?
Ritual and repetition, signs, significance of any kind: these are people possessed. They need something, anything, and maybe they don't know what it is. Maybe they never knew or will never know. Maybe they had it and can only hope it will come again. The enormity of their surroundings swallows them as the prose hits all senses and we fall into it, into these worlds, these places, completely consumed by a collapsing house, the neverending wilderness, the countless rocks and hills.
"She takes me under. Pushes me into the place she wants my mouth. She wants me drinking from the river. She wants me head-down in the water, mouth to stone and split-legged in the dark. She finds the pebble of me, the slippery banks of me where I am winged and unescaping. Where I am sliding stream-bottom stones, stirred on by the scent of something wounded. I am face down and willing. I am unfolding, unstruggling, undone."
Her ability to describe settings, to allow that setting to seamlessly become a body, a human body, to be sexy and profound at the same time continually impresses me. I read the collection again this last weekend, and it's better than the first time -- richer, fuller. The stories opened up to me in new ways, differently than the first read where I was mostly just riding the prose, enjoying its sound, its texture. But this time, this time the stories are more than just beautiful: they're real and they matter.
"I will have a bed. I will make an unmade bed of stone. I will pretend a pillow for my head. I will pretend the stones will keep me safe and where I am: face down to the rock, powdered with the ashes where the rock was burning." -