Little Sinners and Other Stories (Paperback)
University of Nebraska Press, 9780803243422, 194pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
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.
About the Author
Praise For Little Sinners and Other Stories…
"Starting with the title story, about two friends whose cruel childhood prank has unexpected consequences, Brown delivers engaging gems with well-drawn heroines, mostly teenage girls or unhappy wives, whose fates are twisted by the interplay of love and death. . . . The suspenseful writing and menacing erotic tension have a narrative pull that compels attention."—Publishers Weekly starred review
"Brown's detailed style, meticulous in describing character and place, creates realistic slices of life. . . . Her stories will appeal to short-fiction readers for their strength of style and depth of emotional resonance."—Ellen Loughran, Booklist
"Karen Brown pulls off a Steinbeck-ian trifecta (powerful realism, literary depth, and unpretentious storytelling) with Little Sinners. This is a powerful and rare achievement that defines only topnotch authors."—Michael Adelberg, New York Journal of Books
"In a era where female writers and characters are still sometimes marginalized, Karen Brown and a collection like Little Sinners and Other Stories ought to championed, not because of who wrote it, but because its mastery of the art form."—Word/Sound
"Brown's emotional stories cut to the quick. They wound; they scar. The sto
"The work of Karen Brown might be described as suburban noir, because it takes the expected situations, the same old rituals of everyday life and shows us the seedy underbelly, the darker moments, the ways we fail and fall down. . . . With an ear for life and history, an eye for the little things we take for granted every day, and a heart full of longing for our hopes and desires, she gives us a powerful collection of stories that will stay with us long after the dinner bell has rung and the children are sound asleep."—Richard Thomas, Nervous Breakdown