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February 8, 2022
9781421442136
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9781421442143
9781421442136
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v2.1 Reference

A Longing for Impossible Things

"I'm a seeker," the narrator of "My Life as a Mystic" says. "A watcher of the skies. A pilgrim and a wanderer. I don't know, I couldn't stand law school." Such are the polar sentiments of the characters in the stories of David Borofka's A Longing for Impossible Things, which charts the yearning inherent in imperfect lives.

Taking their cue from Fernando Pessoa's "painful landscape" of longing for the impossible, the ministers and missionaries of "Fire" and "Coincidence" look for more than what they find in their respective theologies; they reject what they've been told in favor of what they feel. Meanwhile, everyday believers fall back upon their own intuition and pray for revelation to be forthcoming. Lovers are forced to recognize the finite limitations of their grand infatuations even as they hope for some small measure of long-lasting tenderness, while teenagers resign themselves to the inevitable disappointments of adult life, recognizing the threats that exist in a future that is yet to unfold. And, as the narrator of "Attachments for the Platonically Inclined" says in the context of a 300 game in bowling, "I can't help but be reminded of perfection when perfection was difficult to find. And impossible to hold onto. Reminded that there are moments when everything works as it is supposed to, a harmony beyond applause or appreciation from others."

About the Author

David Borofka taught at Reedley College for more than thirty-five years before retiring in 2019. The author of Hints of His Mortality and The Island, his work has appeared in Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, Shenandoah, Image, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere.

Reviews

"There is a good deal of failure and despair, misfortune, sickness and death. But Borofka is no cynic. The stories are often wonderfully funny."—Don Noble's Book Reviews, Alabama Public Radio

"Short story lovers can rejoice in this much-awaited collection, A Longing for Impossible Things, from the Iowa Short Fiction Award-winning David Borofka, a master of the form. Regardless of the failings of his narrators and assorted ne'er do well characters, these tales are told in a generous, recognizably human voice, marking Borofka as a writer in whose company you'll find deep pleasure."—Nancy Spiller, Complusive Reader

"Let me say this bluntly: David Borofka is one of the best short story writers this country has ever seen, a latter-day John Cheever whose prose is never less than gold, whose wit and compassion never fail his characters or his readers. I hope and pray that this book wins him all the accolades he so richly deserves. He is as fine as they come."—Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World

"David Borofka's stories bristle with lived lives; he is a writer who lets his characters talk, and they have so much to say, as does this textured and impressive collection."—Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion

"The stories in A Longing for Impossible Things embody the goal of all great writing: the more perfect union of style and substance. Borofka's prose may be chiseled, but his sensibility is warm and humane; his wit may be mordant, but it is also merciful. To read these exquisite stories is to be reminded, as Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, that human beings are made up of marble and mud."—Gregory Wolfe, author of Beauty Will Save the World

The Johns Hopkins University Press
Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction

9781421442136 : a-longing-for-impossible-things-borofka
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208 Pages
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