Little Sinners and Other Stories
By Karen Brown
(University of Nebraska Press, Paperback, 9780803243422, 194pp.)
Publication Date: September 2012
List Price: $17.95*
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Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Karen Brown's "Little Sinners, and Other Stories" features a sad, strange mosaic of women and men grappling with the loss and pain of everyday existence, people inhabiting a suburban landscape haunted by ghosts: a mother who leaps from a ridge, a mistress found at the bottom of the Connecticut River, a father who dresses in a pale blue-custom suit and disappears. The dead leave behind postcards, houses, bottles of sherry, bones. They become local legends, their stories part of the characters own: an expectant mother in an isolated cottage on Long Island Sound uncovers an unsettling secret in her backyard; a troubled housewife is lured to a dinner party by a teenage girl whose mother has vanished under mysterious circumstances; a woman and her lover swim the pools of their neighborhood under cover of darkness; a young heiress struggles with mortality and the abandonments in her past.
These stories capture the domestic world in all its blighted promise a world where women's roles in housekeeping, marriage, childbirth, and sex have been all too well defined, and where the characters fashion, recklessly and passionately, their own methods of escape.