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Cover for Jenny and the Jaws of Life

Jenny and the Jaws of Life

Short Stories

Jincy Willett, David Sedaris (Foreword by)


List Price: 20.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (5/27/2008)
MP3 CD (8/23/2022)
Compact Disc (8/23/2022)


In these wonderfully funny and poignant stories, Willett's eccentric, complex characters think and do the unconventional. Soft, euphonic women gradually grow old; weak, unhappy men confront love and their own mortality; and abominable children desperately try to grow up with grace. With a unique voice and dry humor, Willett gives us a new insight into human existence, showing us those specific moments in relationships when life suddenly becomes visible.

Critically acclaimed when it was first published in 1987, Jenny and the Jaws of Life is being brought back due to popular demand. It's a timeless collection filled with a certain freshness and wit that ring just as loudly today.

Praise For Jenny and the Jaws of Life: Short Stories

“If I could rescue one book, I think it would be Jenny and the Jaws of Life. . . . It's just the funniest collection of stories I've ever read-really funny and perfectly sad at the same time. There was a story in the book called 'The Best of Betty,' which was written in the form of letters to a household-hints author, and it was just perfection. Perfection.” —David Sedaris

“A triumphant collection. . . . From a reader Willett can provoke whoops of laughter, wonderment and grim speculation about the brevity of good times for human beings. There's an admirable toughness to her writing as she encompasses the contradictions and uncontrollability of life. She uses words with devastating preciseness.” —Chicago Tribune

“Marvelous. . . The language is tight, the scenes are built like blocks until an unexpected end that Willett works in a kind of gothic 'Gotcha.' She's a master of modern technique. Don't expect your usual short story here.” —Winston-Salem Journal

“Willett's fiction presents a cavalcade of accidents and tragedies, of mishaps and maladies and emergencies. What makes the short stories so striking is that Willett handles these catastrophes with such cool, wry wit. Willett is ready to join the select group of short story writers-Joyce Carol Oates and Flannery O'Connor among them-who treat lurid, graphic material with psychological acuity and deadpan wit.” —Providence Journal

St. Martin's Griffin, 9780312306182, 272pp.

Publication Date: September 14, 2002

About the Author

JINCY WILLETT is the author of Jenny and the Jaws of Life, Winner of the National Book Award, and The Writing Class, which have been translated and sold internationally. Her stories have been published in Cosmopolitan, McSweeney's Quarterly and other magazines. She frequently reviews for The New York Times Book Review.