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Some Possible Solutions: Book summary and reviews of Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips

Some Possible Solutions

Stories

by Helen Phillips

Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips X
Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips
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  • Published in USA  May 2016
    224 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

In a spine-tingling new collection, the "unique"(NPR) and "wickedly funny" (New York Times) Helen Phillips offers an idiosyncratic series of "what-ifs" about our fragile human condition.

Some Possible Solutions offers an idiosyncratic series of "What ifs": What if your perfect hermaphrodite match existed on another planet? What if you could suddenly see through everybody's skin to their organs? What if you knew the exact date of your death? What if your city was filled with doppelgangers of you?

Forced to navigate these bizarre scenarios, Phillips' characters search for solutions to the problem of how to survive in an irrational, infinitely strange world. In dystopias that are exaggerated versions of the world in which we live, these characters strive for intimacy and struggle to resolve their fraught relationships with each other, with themselves, and with their place in the natural world. We meet a wealthy woman who purchases a high-tech sex toy in the shape of a man, a rowdy, moody crew of college students who resolve the energy crisis, and orphaned twin sisters who work as futuristic strippers - and with Phillips' characteristic smarts and imagination, we see that no one is quite who they appear.

By turns surreal, witty, and perplexing, these marvelous stories are ultimately a reflection of our own reality and of the big questions that we all face. Who are we? Where do we fit? Phillips is a true original and a treasure.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Phillips proves yet again that she is an intuitive, emotionally resonant writer who is willing to consider some of life's biggest questions and offer, yes, a few possible solutions." - Kirkus

"Among the other stories of wifedom and motherhood, this final glimpse into the male psyche offers a feel of the fantastic, of the playfulness and discovery that characterizes the collection as a whole." - Publishers Weekly

"This thought-provoking and deeply imaginative story collection is an uncommon gem." - Booklist

"I love Helen Phillips's wild, brilliant, eccentric brain. Her vision flashes down like a lightning bolt into everyday terrors - having a baby, caring for a sick relative, raising a child in a city suffocating for lack of green space - but in a way so wonderfully awry that every single story in Some Possible Solutions has a freshness to it that comes as a shock to the reader's system." - Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

"This stunning collection establishes Helen Philips as one of the most interesting and talented writers working today. In atmosphere and setting, her stories are often reminiscent of Kafka and Atwood, yet her voice and style are entirely her own. A fascinating, unsettling, and beautifully written work." - Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

"These tales are true originals, shining their eerie, lovely lights on the water and asking questions that linger." - Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

"What is the purpose of stories as strange, as lovely, as unsettling as these? There's the joy the reader takes in Phillips's sentences, of course, and her way of seeing. But there's also the sense that we have been invited on a desperately needed tour of our own dreams, nightmares, premonitions in which Phillips will be our guide. I recommend the experience to any and all - this is an essential collection." - Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

This information about Some Possible Solutions shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. 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 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.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Helen Phillips Author Biography

Helen Phillips is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award and the Italo Calvino Prize, among others. Her collection, And Yet They Were Happy, was also a finalist for the McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize, and her work has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts and appeared in Tin House, Electric Literature, Slice, BOMB, Mississippi Review, and PEN America. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

Link to Helen Phillips's Website

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