The title story in Soon—chosen by John Updike for The Best American Short Stories of the Century anthology—follows two generations of a family whose lives are driven by the "patient and brutal need that people called hope, which . . . formed from your present life a future where you would be healed or loved." In "The Jap Room," winner of the 2008 Goodheart Prize, a woman tries to help her husband, a World War II veteran, finally come home. "Rowing to Darien" introduces a famous English actress as she rows away from her husband's rice plantation. In "Hush" a gravely ill man encounters himself in the darkness of Kentucky's iconic Mammoth Cave. An adopted child waits for his mother to come back for him in "Birth Mother," and, in "Forward, Elsewhere, Out," a mother must come to terms with her adolescent son's sexuality. The stories in this collection deftly broach universal themes of love, loss, and the redemptive power of storytelling.
Durban's writing has been praised for its depth and mastery of characterization, its ability to persuade readers that the lives of the people in her stories are true, that their troubles and pleasures are real enough to matter. The nuanced and artfully rendered cast in this collection wrestles with the big questions that face us all—Why are we here? How are we to live? What matters most? The thirteen stories in Soon have appeared in earlier forms in Atlanta Magazine, Indiana Review, Georgia Review, Carolina Quarterly, Idaho Review, Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Shenandoah, Five Points, High Five: An Anthology of Fiction from 10 Years of Five Points, New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, Best American Short Stories, and Best American Short Stories of the Century.
The collection includes a foreword from novelist and short story writer Mary Hood, winner of the Flannery O'Connor Prize, Townsend Prize, and Lillian Smith Award.
About the Authors
"The stories in Soon all share an awareness of the fragility of life and the intricate web of past loves and memories held within. On surface the large situations are simple: death, divorce, a child's rebellion, and yet, the weaving process of all that has fed these lives is complex and beautifully represents the particles of everyday life. In elegant prose, Durban explores these moments of transition and loss with great wisdom and compassion."—Jill McCorkle
"Pam Durban's Soon will add great substance to the growing awareness of her being one of America's finest writers. In this new book of short stories, her talent is on full display and I was reminded of Lorrie Moore, Ann Patchett, and Ron Rash. I would call Durban first-rate but I believe that she is far, far better than that."—Pat Conroy
"Pam Durban writes with such deep and abiding empathy that we never doubt her characters' voices, thoughts, or hearts, whether in the pre-Civil War South or more contemporary settings. Yet what makes these stories equally unforgettable is the beauty of her language. To have this wonderful new collection Soon in print is cause for celebration."—Ron Rash
"The stories in this collection deftly broach the universal themes of love, loss, and the redemptive power of storytelling."—Dew on the Kudzu
"I recommend Pam Durban's wise and gorgeously-crafted second collection of stories, 'Soon.' In each story, someone or something is clinging to something, which in most cases reduces the richness of present life.... These stories are ripe for soul-bearing discussion."—Dannye Romine Powell, Charlotte Observer
Other Titles by Mary Hood
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