The ten stories in this debut collection examine the perils of love and what it means to live during an era when people will offer themselves, almost unthinkingly, to strangers. Risks and repercussions are never fully weighed. People leap and almost always land on rocky ground. May-December romances flourish in these stories, as do self-doubt and, in most cases, serious regret. Mysterious, dangerous benefactors, dead and living artists, movie stars and college professors, plagiarists, and distinguished foreign novelists are among the many different characters. No one is blameless, but villains are difficult to single out-everyone seemingly bears responsibility for his or her desires and for the outcome of difficult choices so often made hopefully and naively.
"Starred Review. Sneed writes with the care of a fine stylist and the heart of a sympathetic reader." - Publishers Weekly
"With a surprisingly futuristic and funny closing story, this is an exceptionally smart, connective, and moving collection." - Booklist
"Sneed writes so carefully that at times it feels as though the words are hardly there, and we're in the characters' heads, taking the plunge with them. - Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago
"If this story collection crackles with the energy of youth, it also feels written by a cool-eyed soul reincarnated at least three times ... By turns funny and pitiless, these tales amount to a vision. The book's voice is unforced in its ready wit, detached compassion. There is an admirable candor. Each character's sexuality seems the natural outcome of a life fully risked." - Allan Gurganus, contest judge and author of The Practical Heart and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All
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Christine Sneed is the author of Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry, a 2009 AWP Grace Paley Prize winner, a finalist for the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Award (first-fiction category), winner of the 2011 John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares, and winner of the Chicago Writers Association 2011 Book of the Year (in the traditionally published fiction category). The San Francisco Chronicle also chose Portraits as one of the fifty best fiction books of 2011. Christine lives in Evanston, Illinois and teaches for the English Department of DePaul University in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and the graduate writing program at Northwestern University. Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry is her first book, and the ten stories in this collection feature self-questioning protagonists.
Her second book, a novel titled Little Known Facts, will be published by Bloomsbury USA in early 2013. It focuses on a successful Hollywood actor and the effects of his fame on his two ex-wives and his two grown children, especially his son.
Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, New England Review, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, Meridian, Pleiades, Notre Dame Review, New Ohio Review, Massachusetts Review, River Styx, and a number of other journals. Christine has also published 30 poems in North American literary journals, was awarded an Illinois Arts Council fellowship in poetry in 2003 and has received five Pushcart Prize nominations. Some of her literary influences include Alice Munro, Martin Amis, Jim Harrison, Deborah Eisenberg, Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, Steve Almond, Penelope Fitzgerald, Penelope Lively and John Updike.
She earned a Master's of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Indiana University - Bloomington and a Bachelor of Science degree in French language and literature from Georgetown University.
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