Out of the Girls' Room and Into the Night (John Simmons Short Fiction Award) (Paperback)
University of Iowa Press, 9780877456919, 244pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 1999
"Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night" is a spirited, offbeat collection of stories, elongated riffs on that thing we call love. All manner of love stories: thwarted love stories, imaginary love stories, love stories offhand and obsessive, philosophical love stories, erudite and amusing love stories.
People don't meet because they both like Burmese food, says one character, or because someone's sister has a friend who's single and new in town, or because Billy's nose happened to crook just slightly to the left at an angle that made me want to weep People don't fall in love with each other they just fall "into" love.
Everyone does it: women of fierce independence, men of thin character, rambling Deadheads, gay teenage girls, despondent Peace Corps volunteers, anorexic Broadway theatre dancers, the eager, the grieving, the uncommunicative. Even the confused do it. And they don't just fall in love with each other they fall in love with certain moments and familiar places, with things as ephemeral as gestures and as evanescent as sunlight.
Quirky, real, idealistic, deluded, bohemian, and true, these are people who can and often do fall in love with a pair of ears, August afternoons, saucers of vitamins, New Age carpenters, and dead bumblebees. And if there's something they can teach us, it's how to conceive of alternative worlds and the terror and the exhilaration of venturing outside the confines of the lives we know and making our way into a dark, glittering unknown.
Praise For Out of the Girls' Room and Into the Night (John Simmons Short Fiction Award)…
“…an awe-inspiring collection of short stories…Nissen's characters are young and yearning, and they come together in lovely and unexpected ways…Although [her] characters are generally young and blessed—traveling Deadheads, college housemates, wealthy New York teens—Nissen bestows them with earnesty and explores their desires carefully and with gravity.”—Austin Chronicle
“…these smoothly polished little narrative gems are not about love at all so much as they are about the desire for what love signifies: placing yourself in context, finding comfort enough inside your own skin to turn your attention to the world and welcome it…With wry humor and uncommon poignancy, Thisbe distills entire emotional universes into her slim stories. You may never have lived with seven other women during a semester of nervous breakdowns and supernatural events, found yourself preferring your boyfriend's sister to your actual boyfriend, or lost a parent to a freak accident, but you'll recognize parts of yourself in Girls' Room.—Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture