Hardback
October 31, 2007
9781558496170
English
192
.8 Pounds (US)
$24.95 USD
v2.1 Reference

Pins and Needles

Stories

In Pins and Needles, Karen Brown explores love and loss between mother and child, husband and wife, close friends, and virtual strangers. In many of these stories, Brown shows how love emerges as infidelity—incongruous and disruptive, threatening the stability of daily life.

In "She Fell to Her Knees," Nell inherits the neglected house in which her mother died years before, and begins an affair with the neighbor. The narrator of "Apparitions," who has recently returned the blind grandson she was raising to the care of his mother, invites a confused young man into her home. In "The Ropewalk," a bartender haunted by her abandonment of her own child aids a customer in a struggle for custody of her daughters. A pregnant teenager in "Unction" comes to accept the reality of her situation while working a summer job counting parts in a bookbinding machine shop. Annie, the young mother with a tragic past in "Pins and Needles," leaves her infant daughter to go on an errand in a snowstorm, and picks up a boy she doesn't know.

What remains a constant in these stories is the tangible presence of the natural world. Each story moves toward the moment in which its characters, navigating loss, learn acceptance. Like the single mother in "Destiny," they see their lives happen—"all around, just then, forever.

About the Author

Karen Brown was born in Connecticut and attended Cornell University and the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she received an MA in Creative Writing and is currently pursuing a PhD. Her stories have appeared in many literary journals, and she received an O. Henry Prize for “Unction,” originally published in The Georgia Review and included in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2006. Visit her website at www.karenbrownbooks.com.

Reviews

"For the women in these stories, many of them mothers, the sense of private exile leads to liaisons beyond the boundaries of established relationships, where fidelities shift, and sexual relationships and secret-keeping become momentary stands against loss. The profound losses in these stories—the accidental deaths of children, losses of parental love, the effects of time passing—continue to haunt, both deepened and suspended by Karen Brown's glimmering prose."—Nancy Reisman, author of The First Desire and House Fires



"Karen Brown is one of those writers who has you by the throat from the first paragraph. Though her characters are burdened by self-loathing and what one of them calls 'an unremitting expectation of loss,' Brown has so meticulously observed the worlds they inhabit that their rare moments of love and hope are hard-won, beautifully nuanced, and deeply felt."—Enid Shomer, author of Tourist Season



"Each of these stories is its own sensual journey, an unflinching exploration of desire and its consequences. Pins and Neeedles is a bold, sexy, beautiful portrait of the human heart."—A. Manette Ansay, author of Blue Water and Vinegar Hill



"Winner of the Grace Paley Prize ... this volume includes several excellent stories, notable among them "Unction," "She Fell to Her Knees," and, espeically, "The Ropewalk." These stories reveal a reflective narrator deeply engaged with the world around her."—Choice
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Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction

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