Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What is Laura Furman reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Laura Furman, author of the new story collection, The Mother Who Stayed.

Her entry begins:
It’s end-of-the-world weather, even in sunny Austin, Texas, and I’ve just read a novel that’s appropriate to the sky, Next by James Hynes.

The novel’s hero is Kevin Quinn of Ann Arbor, Michigan, a funny guy, attractive despite his bad case of arrested development and priapism, both of which lead to melancholy visits to his past and strange episodes in his Odyssey around Austin one fine, sunny June day.

Reading a novel set in a familiar place offers the fun of ...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Mother Who Stayed:
"With wonderfully rendered scenes of American landscape, the stories form a kind of national portrait..."
--Julie Metz

"A nicely hewn collection of new stories by PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories series editor Furman (The Glass House) pursues three family cycles with a hard focus on the mothers. The first, most engaging trio begins with "The Eye," an enchanted summer grouping of three New York families in the country during the 1950s and the looming pall of their estrangement. Rachel, a youngest daughter, is devastated by the untimely death of her mother in "The Hospital Room." In "The Thief" Rachel deals with her friend, Caitlin, a wily girl who lets Rachel be accused of stealing a pearl necklace belonging to Caitlin's mother. The second trio involves a famous novelist and poet with an importunate, unsympathetic nature; her biographer, who tries to dig up the truth about her giving her daughter up for adoption; and the now grown-up daughter who meets the dying grande dame for the first time. The title story, which closes the final trio, finds a silver-headed widow—the product of a motherless home—employing as strength and solace the diaries of a late-19th-century woman who bore 16 children and devoted her life to caring for them. Furman's prose ambles sinuously, in unexpected directions, and has a quiet, sure effect."
--Publishers Weekly
Read more about The Mother Who Stayed.

Writers Read: Laura Furman.

--Marshal Zeringue