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Cover for Swim for the Little One First

Swim for the Little One First

Flournoy Holland


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Swim for the Little One First is a dazzling new collection of twelve short fictions by the acclaimed fiction writer and prose stylist Noy Holland. The stories gathered in Swim for the Little One First vary in setting (Ecuador, Montana, Florida, the Berkshires, North Dakota, New Mexico, and California) and style (from the plainspoken to the fustian).  In “Milk River” a young girl whose mother has committed suicide and whose brother has gone off to war is left to tend to her ailing father; in “Today is an Early Out” a family finds itself caught in a mudslide in the Sierra Nevada; in “Merengue” a young couple takes up residence in a HUD hotel in Miami Beach, among the elderly living out their last days. In the title story a woman with young children addresses her father, who has come to visit, in theobdurate language of remorse. In “Pemmican” the author takes a comic approach to the telling of an absurd story about escaped pet mice surviving winter in a car. In these and seven other stories, Noy Holland, an author praised by writers and critics ranging from William H. Gass to Michiko Kakutani, presents readers with what Gass has described as “beautifully lyrical but bitter prose and . . . an ardent grimness of eye that is both unsettling and intensely satisfying.”

Praise For Swim for the Little One First

Praise for The Spectacle of the Body: “Ms. Holland habitually challenges the usual limits of language, but the effects of her exuberance are never precious and often turn suddenly into beauty; her characters portray themselves in a discourse that is startling but genuine, the secret syntax of real lives.” —William Ferguson, New York Times Book Review

“In wonderfully cadenced and concise prose, Swim for the Little One First cracks the chests of struggling lives to show the hearts beating within. These stories of difficulty are not sentimental, nor are they artificially cold: they are wonderfully, nakedly human.” —Brian Evenson, author of The Wavering Knife

“The syncopated rhythms of Noy Holland’s rapturous prose jolt the heart and spark the senses. If you can bear to explore the limits of your own compassion, open this book to ‘Blood Country’ or ‘Milk River.’ You cannot prepare yourself: you can only surrender.” —Melanie Rae Thon, author of The Voice of the River and In This Light

Fiction Collective 2, 9781573661690, 184pp.

Publication Date: September 30, 2012

About the Author

Noy Holland is the author of The Spectacle of the Body and What Begins with Bird. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.