Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pg. 99: "Famous Fathers & Other Stories"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Pia Z. Ehrhardt's Famous Fathers & Other Stories.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gracefully disconcerting collection of stories by the winner of the 2005 Narrative Prize.

Wavering between fidelity and freedom, the women in this sparkling debut collection deal with emotional damage and unhealed heartbreak by plunging into unusual, often bizarre, relationships.

In Pia Z. Ehrhardt’s stories, adultery and impropriety become disquietingly mundane. Mothers expect daughters to be complicit in their love affairs, children seek shelter in families that aren’t their own, fathers court their daughters, a couple enters into a marriage that lasts thirty days a year, and a young girl takes to the road with the simple guy who bags groceries at Piggly Wiggly while her mother imagines her safely at school.

Beautifully restrained and shot through with tenderness, Famous Fathers and Other Stories establishes Ehrhardt as both a leading practitioner of the short story and an empathetic interpreter of the lives of wounded people who — instead of asking for what they want — take what is offered.

Among the early praise for Famous Fathers & Other Stories:

"Pia Ehrhardt’s tender and funny stories are filled with passionate women just barely bottled up by their everyday responsibilities: busy-hearted wives and mothers who may find themselves surprised by love or their own resiliency but who never doubted for a moment the intensity of their desire to touch the world...They render for us that jumping-on-a-trampoline feeling, when our most intimate connections are the top of the bounce, and the view up there is both scary and sweet."
--Jim Shepard, author of Love and Hydrogen and Project X

"Pia Z. Ehrhardt's Famous Fathers is a stunning first collection. The stories charm and tease and threaten with equal fervor...To read them is to be seduced, at night and in the slanting rain, in a new city, over quiet water, by the woman of your dreams."
--Frederick Barthelme, author of Moon Deluxe and Natural Selection

"Like the levees we are all so familiar with now in the post-Katrina world, if you make the wrong move, if you push her too far, the woman will break free. She will flood her restraints -- she will take over your streets, your house. She will send you fleeing from the city you love. But she doesn't do this in these stories -- she keeps herself as much in check as she can stand. And why? Well, for love. Love is the ultimate prize, the gift. She will do just about anything for love -- and truthfully she finds getting it from men easy enough."
--Myfawny Collins

Read more about Famous Fathers & Other Stories at the publisher's website, and visit Pia Z. Ehrhardt's website.

The Page 99 Test: Famous Fathers & Other Stories.

--Marshal Zeringue