Virgin and Other Stories Summary and Reviews

Virgin and Other Stories

by April Ayers Lawson

Virgin and Other Stories by April Ayers Lawson X
Virgin and Other Stories by April Ayers Lawson
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Book Summary

With self-assurance and sensuality, April Ayers Lawson unravels the intertwining imperatives of intimacy - sex and love, violation and trust, spirituality and desire - eyeing, unblinkingly, what happens when we succumb to temptation.

Set in the American South, at the crossroads of a world that is both secular and devoutly Christian, April Ayers Lawson's stories mine the inner lives of young women and men navigating sexual, emotional, and spiritual awakenings. In the title story, Jake grapples with the growing chasm between him and his wife, Sheila, who was a virgin when they wed. In "Three Friends in a Hammock" the tension and attraction is palpable between three sexy, insecure young women as they tug and toe the rope of their shared sack. "The Way You Must Play Always" invites us into the mind of Gretchen, young-looking even for thirteen, as she attends her weekly piano lesson, anxiously anticipating her illicit meeting with Wesley, her instructor's adult brother who is recovering from a brain tumor. Conner, the cynical sixteen-year-old narrator of "The Negative Effects of Homeschooling," escorts his mink-wearing mother to the funeral of her best friend, Charlene, a woman who was once a man. And in "Vulnerability" we accompany a young married painter to New York City, lured there by an art dealer and one of his artists. Both are self-involved and have questionable intentions, but nevertheless she is enticed.

Nodding to the Southern Gothic but channeling an energy all its own, Virgin and Other Stories is a mesmerizing debut from an uncannily gifted young writer.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

One of New York Magazines "45 New Books to Read This Fall"

One of The Millions' "Most Anticipated" for the second half of 2016

One of The Huffington Post's "20 New Books You'll Need For Your Shelf in Fall 2016"

One of The Boston Globe's "most anticipated" for Fall 2016

"Starred Review. These are stories that dare to tread where they shouldn't, on uncertain ground that feels, in the hands of this talented young writer, remarkably concrete" - Publishers Weekly

"Lawson's unique curiosity and deft characterization propel the plots of her unusual stories and lure readers into voyeuristically witnessing unusual psychological, sexual, and emotional experiences and awakenings." - Booklist

"Tautly strung and full-bodied." - Library Journal

"Meaty, satisfying tales of a substance that suggests Lawson would make a fine novelist." - Kirkus

"The Plimpton Prize winner's debut story collection plunges into a sensual, deeply Christian South, rife with homeschooled kids, virgin brides, and terminally ill potheads. Lawson proves, yet again, that while the red states have a lot of problems, failing to inspire gorgeous, gothic fiction is not among them." - New York Magazine

This information about Virgin and Other Stories was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. 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 they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream 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

April Ayers Lawson

April Ayers Lawson is the recipient of the 2011 George Plimpton Award for Fiction, as well as a 2015 writing fellowship from the Corporation of Yaddo. "Virgin" was named a 2011 favorite short story of the year by Flavorwire magazine and anthologized in The Unprofessionals: New American Writing from The Paris Review. Lawson's fiction has appeared in the Norwegian version of Granta, Oxford American, Vice, ZYZYYVA, Crazyhorse, and Five Chapters, among others. She has lectured in the creative writing department at Emory University, and is the 2016-17 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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