Bystanders (SFWP Literary Awards) (Paperback)
Santa Fe Writer's Project, 9781939650382, 238pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2016
2016 Balcones Fiction Prize
Legacies of violence and tragedy haunt these thirteen stunning stories from Tara Laskowski, author of Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons. A woman who becomes obsessed with her co-worker's murderer; an investigative reporter with a nose for scandal finds his own life suddenly unraveling; eerie sights in a video baby monitor haunt a new mother. When the unexpected happens, these bystanders—who are not always innocent—come face to face with their own choices and fates. Bound together by danger, fear, paranoia, and the bumps we all hear in the night, these potent stories illuminate the darker side of the human condition. From a vicious newspaper strike that rocks a small Pennsylvania community to an unpredictable road trip in the vast desert of the American West, Bystanders explores the ways in which terror and uncertainty both consumes and invigorate us—and yet reveal our strengths, hopes, and passions. Selected as the Grand Prize Winner for the SFWP Literary Awards Program, 2010, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler.
About the Author
Praise For Bystanders (SFWP Literary Awards)…
“There’s still plenty left,” one of the characters in The Witness says, referencing a cake, but the reader has been taken deep enough into the story to know that there’s no way that can be true, because there’s not enough of anything left for the main character. And in one story after another in this excellent collection, characters are tested when their expectations are strained and even shattered, not by the extraordinary, but more devastatingly, by the ordinary. Tara Laskowski’s collection will be welcomed by readers who care about witnessing the significant rather than the spectacular." —Gary Fincke, author and winner of the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Sorry I Worried You
"In this debut that resonates, Tara Laskowski’s women and men drift through an imperfect suburbia, much like the disembodied souls who haunt her characters day and night. Laskowski has a natural ability to pen the banal, juxtaposed with the horror that often lurks just outside the light that spills from our windows. She digs into the crevices and corners of everyday lives to find the grit, the dirt, the ghosts—our deepest secrets—then finds a way to turn it all into crystal clear story moments that will enlighten her readers." —Tara L. Masih, series editor, The Best Small Fictions