Refund: Book summary and reviews of Refund by Karen Bender

Refund

Stories

by Karen Bender

Refund by Karen Bender X
Refund by Karen Bender
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2015
    256 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

We think about it every day, sometimes every hour: Money. Who has it. Who doesn't. How you get it. How you don't.

In Refund, Bender creates an award-winning collection of stories that deeply explore the ways in which money and the estimation of value affect the lives of her characters. The stories in Refund reflect our contemporary world--swindlers, reality show creators, desperate artists, siblings, parents ? who try to answer the question: What is the real definition of worth?

In "Theft," an eighty-year-old swindler, accustomed to tricking people for their money, boards a cruise ship to see if she can find something of true value?a human connection. In "Anything for Money," the creator of a reality show is thrown into the real world when his estranged granddaughter reenters his life in need of a new heart; and in the title story, young artist parents in downtown Manhattan escape the attack on 9/11 only to face a battle over their subletted apartment with a stranger who might have lost more than only her deposit.

Set in contemporary America, these stories herald a work of singular literary merit by an important writer at the height of her power.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The stories' strengths stem from Bender's beautiful writing and her ability to convey the wonder and dread of ordinary life, the things we might notice—whether with terror or with joy—if we weren't too busy worrying about paying the bills." - Publishers Weekly

"Although her tone can veer toward bitterness, Bender excels at characters on the edge of despair, particularly mothers who resent the children they love." - Kirkus

"In an American moment where money rules and anxieties fester, Karen Bender has stepped in to tell all our stories with unsettling honesty, an eye for our absurdities, and an openness to the moments of grace that keep us going. Bender is a master storyteller and Refund is a superb collection." - Tom Barbash, author of Stay Up With Me

"These stories are among the best fiction I've read in a generation. From the chains of straw and coins and angels that bind us to earth, Bender weaves not only gold, but the rings of Saturn." - Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature

"In Refund, Karen Bender offers us a vision of contemporary life that is tragic and deeply funny, disturbing and-most of all-true. These are stories about us, women and men living with the trappings of comfort and security, while anxiety thrums under the surface and a sense of calamity looms. This collection moved and enthralled me throughout." - Danny Senna, author of Caucasia and You are Free

"Money, money! The things we'll do to get it, the distortions (especially when children are involved) of the space between desire and satisfaction: these are Karen Bender's subjects, which she handles with savage wit, great economy, and a brilliant instinct for the telling situation. Her stories floored me." - Andrea Barrett, author of Archangel and Servants of the Map

The information about Refund shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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More Information

Karen E. Bender is the author of the novels Like Normal People and A Town of Empty Rooms. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, Story, Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, and other magazines. Her stories have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, and have won two Pushcart prizes. She has won grants from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the NEA. She is also co-editor of the anthology Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion. She has taught creative writing at Antioch University Los Angeles, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Tunghai University in Taiwan. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, novelist Robert Anthony Siegel, and their two children.

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