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Nothing Right: Short Stories
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About the Author

Antonya Nelson is the author of eight books of fiction. Her works include Female Trouble and the novels Talking in Bed, Nobody's Girl, and Living to Tell. Nelson's work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Harpers, Redbook, and in many other magazines, as well as in anthologies such as Prize Stories, the O. Henry Awards, and Best American Short Stories. Her books have been New York Times Notable Books of 1992, 1996, 1998, and 2000. The New Yorker called her one of the "twenty young fiction writers for the new millennium." She is also the recent recipient of the Rea Award for Short Fiction and is a recipient of an NEA Grant 2000-01 and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Reviews

Mothers excuse the inexcusable, sisters defend the indefensible, and spouses orbit each other like off-kilter planets in this delightfully messy collection of short stories about contemporary family relationships. A recent recipient of the Rea Award for short fiction, Nelson (Living To Tell) gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves. Settings are uniformly bleak; while many of the stories take place in Kansas, the physical location serves primarily as a reflection of the characters' emotional landscapes. Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure (see especially "Kansas" and "Biodegradable"). This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force, recommended for all but the smallest short story collections.-Leigh Anne Vrabel, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings. In "OBO," a family is gathered together for the holidays, their day reflected in the items on the kitchen table: "sparkling glitter that stuck in the syrup... then later... came the peanuts and poker chips and whiskey." In "Kansas," a wife's pregnancy ("a weapon he could plant like a bomb") keeps an unhappy marriage alive. In "Party of One," a woman secretly suffering from cancer meets her sister's adulterous lover in a bar to put an end to the relationship. While most of the stories in this collection have been previously published (many in the New Yorker), two are new: "We and They" and "People People." Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed. This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for a writer often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Nelson's prose is precise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable." --"New York Times Book Review

""Nelson's great gift is her ability to create characters so lovable-- even in the face of their many flaws--that we will happily trail each one around for a while, scarcely caring if they are wrestling with a life-threatening crisis or taking the dog for a walk." --"Village Voice""" "I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson's name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again. She's absolutely one of my favorites among story writers today, and I envy the reader who has yet to discover her work." --Michael Chabon "Nelson has a pitch-perfect ear for the rhythms and unspoken subtexts of domestic life, and especially for the ways a family balances old grudges with the need to practice forgiveness." --Francine Prose "Any lover of realistic narrative fiction about actual and unglamorous people will be greatly rewarded by the work of Antonya Nelson. Her voice is sure, her wit is quick, her observations continually resonate and her honesty is unwavering." --Dave Eggers "We see clearly what it is that the best young writers have to offer--a kind of pizzazz, the love of undercurrent, of voyeuristic intensity, a bewildered fascination with ritual as it has been undermined in our time, yet sustained, too, in an oddly moving way." --Raymond Carver "I've been a Toni fan ever since I read a story of hers called 'The Salad' on my second or third day of graduate school. I read her newest collection so fast the pages are singed." --David Foster Wallace


Praise for "Nothing Right"

"The settings are Western and middle-middle class, but the characters defy stereotype... Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas." --"Kirkus "Praise for Antonya Nelson "Nelson's prose is precise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable." --"New York Times Book Review ""Nelson's great gift is her ability to create characters so lovable-- even in the face of their many flaws--that we will happily trail each one around for a while, scarcely caring if they are wrestling with a life-threatening crisis or taking the dog for a walk." --"Village Voice""" "I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson's name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again. She's absolutely one of my favorites among story writers today, and I envy the reader who has yet to discover her work." --Michael Chabon "Nelson has a pitch-perfect ear for the rhythms and unspoken subtexts of domestic life, and especially for the ways a family balances old grudges with the need to practice forgiveness." --Francine Prose "Any lover of realistic narrative fiction about actual and unglamorous people will be greatly rewarded by the work of Antonya Nelson. Her voice is sure, her wit is quick, her observations continually resonate and her honesty is unwavering." --Dave Eggers "We see clearly what it is that the best young writers have to offer--a kind of pizzazz, the love of undercurrent, of voyeuristic intensity, a bewildered fascination with ritual as it has been undermined in our time, yet sustained, too, in an oddly moving way." --RaymondCarver "I've been a Toni fan ever since I read a story of hers called 'The Salad' on my second or third day of graduate school. I read her newest collection so fast the pages are singed." --David Foster Wallace ""


Praise for "Nothing Right""" "Stellar... never has anxiety been made as entertaining as it is here. Nelson deploys a quirky, far-reaching humor and resonant detail to describe both the quiet and not-so-quiet implosions of midwestern families as they attempt to cope with contemporary life.... Nelson is in complete command of her material here, infusing her stories with just the right shades of poignancy, humor, and heartbreak." --"Booklist," starred review

"In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings... Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed. This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for awriter often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers." --"Publishers Weekly," starred review"The settings are Western and middle-middle class, but the characters defy stereotype... Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas." --"Kirkus" "Delightfully messy...Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves...Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure. This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force." --"LibraryJournal," starred review Praise for Antonya Nelson "Nelson's prose is precise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable." --"New York Times Book Review ""Nelson's great gift is her ability to create characters so lovable-- even in the face of their many flaws--that we will happily trail each one around for a while, scarcely caring if they are wrestling with a life-threatening crisis or taking the dog for a walk." --"Village Voice""" "I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson's name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again. She's absolutely one of my favorites among story writers today, and I envy the reader who has yet to discover her work." --Michael Chabon "Nelson has a pitch-perfect ear for the rhythms and unspoken subtexts of domestic life, and especially for the ways a family balances old grudges with the need to practice forgiveness." --Francine Prose "Any lover of realistic narrative fiction about actual and unglamorous people will be greatly rewarded by the work of Antonya Nelson. Her voice is sure, her wit is quick, her observations continually resonate and her honesty is unwavering." --Dave Eggers "We see clearly what it is that the best young writers have to offer--a kind of pizzazz, the love of undercurrent, of voyeuristic intensity, a bewildered fascination with ritual as it has been undermined in our time, yet sustained, too, in an oddly moving way." --Raymond Carver "I've been a Toni fan ever since I read a story of hers called 'The Salad' on my second or third day of graduate school. I read her newest collection so fast the pages are singed."--David Foster Wallace ""


Praise for "Nothing Right""" "Nelson, an astute observer of everyday conflicts, has skillfully mapped out life in this unforgettable collection, and sooner or later a reader will run into herself in a story, the character's troubles as real as the reader's own. Still, even more wonder comes when one realizes that Nelson, witty yet sympathetic, articulates our pains and troubles better than we do. Could it be that she knows us better than we know ourselves?" - "San Francisco Chronicle" "I don't know how I missed the extensively published and acclaimed writer Antonya Nelson, but I'm glad my first encounter was this collection of short stories. They are funny in a dark, subterranean way, gracefully told, and populated by characters you wouldn't want to know but already know intimately... These difficult characters... may seem impossible to like, but because of Nelson's fluid skill and insight, you end up caring about them all." --"Bust""" "Nelson never chafes against the limitations of her chosen form, the realistic, well-made story. It's the ideal medium for a writer who isn't afraid to remind us of the familiar, who values insight over epiphany." - "New York Times Book Review""" "Those wondering whether the spirit of bohemian anarchy endures in today's hunkered-down Red America need look only as far as the marvelously reliable Wichita, Kansas native Antonya Nelson's latest story collection, "Nothing Right,.". Nelson delivers convincing portraits--11 of them here--of folks who are alarmingly drinking-positive, more than a little familiar with illicit drugs, and all too conversant in the language of infidelity...Sordid, cynical, and supremely romantic tales."- "Elle" "Stellar... never hasanxiety been made as entertaining as it is here. Nelson deploys a quirky, far-reaching humor and resonant detail to describe both the quiet and not-so-quiet implosions of midwestern families as they attempt to cope with contemporary life.... Nelson is in complete command of her material here, infusing her stories with just the right shades of poignancy, humor, and heartbreak." --"Booklist," starred review

"In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings... Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed. This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for awriter often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers." --"Publishers Weekly," starred review"The settings are Western and middle-middle class, but the characters defy stereotype... Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas." --"Kirkus" "Delightfully messy...Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves...Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure. This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force." --"Library Journal," starred review Praise for Antonya Nelson"Nelson's prose is precise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable." --"New York Times Book Review ""Nelson's great gift is her ability to create characters so lovable-- even in the face of their many flaws--that we will happily trail each one around for a while, scarcely caring if they are wrestling with a life-threatening crisis or taking the dog for a walk." --"Village Voice""" "I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson's name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again. She's absolutely one of my favorites among story writers today, and I envy the reader who has yet to discover her work." --Michael Chabon "Nelson has a pitch-perfect ear for the rhythms and unspoken subtexts of domestic life, and especially for the ways a family balances old grudges with the need to practice forgiveness." --Francine Prose "Any lover of realistic narrative fiction about actual and unglamorous people will be greatly rewarded by the work of Antonya Nelson. Her voice is sure, her wit is quick, her observations continually resonate and her honesty is unwavering." --Dave Eggers "We see clearly what it is that the best young writers have to offer--a kind of pizzazz, the love of undercurrent, of voyeuristic intensity, a bewildered fascination with ritual as it has been undermined in our time, yet sustained, too, in an oddly moving way." --Raymond Carver "I've been a Toni fan ever since I read a story of hers called 'The Salad' on my second or third day of graduate school. I read her newest collection so fast the pages are singed." --David Foster Wallace ""


"In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings...Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed.This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for a writer often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)"Those wondering whether the spirit of bohemian anarchy endures in today's hunkered-down Red America need look only as far as the marvelously reliable Wichita, Kansas, native Antonya Nelson's latest story collection, "Nothing Right."..Nelson delivers convincing portraits--11 of them here--of folk who are alarmingly drinking-positive, more than a little familiar with illicit drugs, and all too conversant in the language of infidelity...Sordid, cynical, and supremely romantic tales."--"Elle Magazine""Stellar... never has anxiety been made as entertaining as it is here. Nelson deploys a quirky, far-reaching humor and resonant detail to describe both the quiet and not-so-quiet implosions of midwestern families as they attempt to cope with contemporary life.... Nelson is in complete command of her material here, infusing her stories with just the right shades of poignancy, humor, and heartbreak."--"Booklist" (starred review)"Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas."--"Kirkus Reviews""Delightfully messy...Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves...Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure. This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force."--"Library Journal ""Nelson never chafes against the limitations of her chosen form, the realistic well-made story. It's the ideal medium for a writer who isn't afraid to remind us of the familiar, who values insight over epiphany."--"New York Times""I don't know how I missed the extensively published and acclaimed writer Antonya Nelson, but I'm glad my first encounter was this collection of short stories. They are funny in a dark, subterranean way, gracefully told, and populated by characters you wouldn't want to know but already know intimately... These difficult characters... may seem impossible to like, but because of Nelson's fluid skill and insight, you end up caring about them all."--"Bust""You have only to read Antonya Nelson's new story collection, "Nothing Right," to appreciate her talent.... Nelson, unlike so many writers today, is not serving up magic realism in her stories. Her magic, in fact, is their powerful realism: deeply understood, beautifully expressed."--"Hartford"" Courant""Nelson never chafes against the limitations of her chosen form, the realistic well-made story. It's the ideal medium for a writer who isn't afraid to remind us of the familiar, who values insight over epiphany. Nor is Nelson particularly interested in the way the world at large shapes our private lives. These stories could take place at just about any time in the last 30 years - after the sexual revolution diminished, without destroying, the scandal of adultery and the tragedy of divorce. Indeed, it comes as a surprise when, in 'Shauntrelle, ' Nelson alludes to 'collateral damage, ' and a world that contains Iraq and Afghanistan heaves into view. The wars that concern Nelson's characters are fought much closer to home."--"New York Times Book Review ""Antonya Nelson's "Nothing Right "[targets] the romantic poseurs in all of us."--"Vogue "


In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson s brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed.
This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for a writer often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers. "Publishers Weekly (starred review)" This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for a writer often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers. "Publishers Weekly (starred review)" Those wondering whether the spirit of bohemian anarchy endures in today's hunkered-down Red America need look only as far as the marvelously reliable Wichita, Kansas, native Antonya Nelson's latest story collection, "Nothing Right" Nelson delivers convincing portraits--11 of them here--of folk who are alarmingly drinking-positive, more than a little familiar with illicit drugs, and all too conversant in the language of infidelity Sordid, cynical, and supremely romantic tales. "Elle Magazine" Stellar never has anxiety been made as entertaining as it is here. Nelson deploys a quirky, far-reaching humor and resonant detail to describe both the quiet and not-so-quiet implosions of midwestern families as they attempt to cope with contemporary life . Nelson is in complete command of her material here, infusing her stories with just the right shades of poignancy, humor, and heartbreak. "Booklist (starred review)" Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas. "Kirkus Reviews" Delightfully messy Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure. This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force. "Library Journal" Nelson never chafes against the limitations of her chosen form, the realistic well-made story. It's the ideal medium for a writer who isn't afraid to remind us of the familiar, who values insight over epiphany. "New York Times" I don't know how I missed the extensively published and acclaimed writer Antonya Nelson, but I'm glad my first encounter was this collection of short stories. They are funny in a dark, subterranean way, gracefully told, and populated by characters you wouldn't want to know but already know intimately These difficult characters may seem impossible to like, but because of Nelson's fluid skill and insight, you end up caring about them all. "Bust" You have only to read Antonya Nelson's new story collection, "Nothing Right," to appreciate her talent . Nelson, unlike so many writers today, is not serving up magic realism in her stories. Her magic, in fact, is their powerful realism: deeply understood, beautifully expressed. "Hartford Courant" Nelson never chafes against the limitations of her chosen form, the realistic well-made story. It's the ideal medium for a writer who isn't afraid to remind us of the familiar, who values insight over epiphany. Nor is Nelson particularly interested in the way the world at large shapes our private lives. These stories could take place at just about any time in the last 30 years after the sexual revolution diminished, without destroying, the scandal of adultery and the tragedy of divorce. Indeed, it comes as a surprise when, in Shauntrelle, ' Nelson alludes to collateral damage, ' and a world that contains Iraq and Afghanistan heaves into view. The wars that concern Nelson's characters are fought much closer to home. "New York Times Book Review" Antonya Nelson's "Nothing Right "[targets] the romantic poseurs in all of us. "Vogue""


"In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings...Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed.
This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for a writer often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)"This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for a writer often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Those wondering whether the spirit of bohemian anarchy endures in today's hunkered-down Red America need look only as far as the marvelously reliable Wichita, Kansas, native Antonya Nelson's latest story collection, Nothing Right...Nelson delivers convincing portraits--11 of them here--of folk who are alarmingly drinking-positive, more than a little familiar with illicit drugs, and all too conversant in the language of infidelity...Sordid, cynical, and supremely romantic tales." --Elle Magazine"Stellar... never has anxiety been made as entertaining as it is here. Nelson deploys a quirky, far-reaching humor and resonant detail to describe both the quiet and not-so-quiet implosions of midwestern families as they attempt to cope with contemporary life.... Nelson is in complete command of her material here, infusing her stories with just the right shades of poignancy, humor, and heartbreak." --Booklist (starred review)"Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas." --Kirkus Reviews"Delightfully messy...Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves...Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure. This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force." --Library Journal"Nelson never chafes against the limitations of her chosen form, the realistic well-made story. It's the ideal medium for a writer who isn't afraid to remind us of the familiar, who values insight over epiphany." --New York Times"I don't know how I missed the extensively published and acclaimed writer Antonya Nelson, but I'm glad my first encounter was this collection of short stories. They are funny in a dark, subterranean way, gracefully told, and populated by characters you wouldn't want to know but already know intimately... These difficult characters... may seem impossible to like, but because of Nelson's fluid skill and insight, you end up caring about them all." --Bust"You have only to read Antonya Nelson's new story collection, Nothing Right, to appreciate her talent.... Nelson, unlike so many writers today, is not serving up magic realism in her stories. Her magic, in fact, is their powerful realism: deeply understood, beautifully expressed." --Hartford Courant"Nelson never chafes against the limitations of her chosen form, the realistic well-made story. It's the ideal medium for a writer who isn't afraid to remind us of the familiar, who values insight over epiphany. Nor is Nelson particularly interested in the way the world at large shapes our private lives. These stories could take place at just about any time in the last 30 years - after the sexual revolution diminished, without destroying, the scandal of adultery and the tragedy of divorce. Indeed, it comes as a surprise when, in 'Shauntrelle, ' Nelson alludes to 'collateral damage, ' and a world that contains Iraq and Afghanistan heaves into view. The wars that concern Nelson's characters are fought much closer to home." --New York Times Book Review"Antonya Nelson's Nothing Right [targets] the romantic poseurs in all of us." --Vogue

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