Reminiscent of Aimee Bender and Karen Russell - an enthralling new collection that uses the world of the imagination to explore the heart of the human condition.
Major new literary talent Ramona Ausubel combines the otherworldly wisdom of her much-loved debut novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us, with the precision of the short-story form. A Guide to Being Born is organized around the stages of life - love, conception, gestation, birth - and the transformations that happen as people experience deeply altering life events, falling in love, becoming parents, looking toward the end of life. In each of these eleven stories Ausubel's stunning imagination and humor are moving, entertaining, and provocative, leading readers to see the familiar world in a new way.
In "Atria" a pregnant teenager believes she will give birth to any number of strange animals rather than a human baby; in "Catch and Release" a girl discovers the ghost of a Civil War hero living in the woods behind her house; and in "Tributaries" people grow a new arm each time they fall in love. Funny, surprising, and delightfully strange - all the stories have a strong emotional core; Ausubel's primary concern is always love, in all its manifestations.
"Ausubel has a gift of language so rich that even the most mundane events are invested with poetry, and many of her characters are in need of all the poetry they can muster." - Kirkus
"Quite often, and with great effect, the misplaced and aimless find solace. Still, the quirk factor occasionally works overtime...." - Publishers Weekly
"Ausubel is a master stylist of vibrant, concise prose, and these stories, with love most often at their cores, can be appreciated for that alone." - Booklist
"These stories reminded me of branches full of cherry blossoms: fresh, delicate, beautiful, expressive, otherworldly. I eagerly read from one story to the next." - Aimee Bender
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Ramona Ausubel grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has been published in The New Yorker, One Story, The Paris Review Daily, The Best American Fantasy and elsewhere and has received special mentions in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and was a finalist for the Puschcart Prize. She is a recipient of the Glenn Schaeffer Award in Fiction and a graduate of the MFA program at the University of California, Irvine, and She lives in Santa Barbara, California.
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