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American Innovations: Book summary and reviews of American Innovations by Rivka Galchen

American Innovations

Stories

by Rivka Galchen

American Innovations by Rivka Galchen X
American Innovations by Rivka Galchen
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  • Published May 2014
    192 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

In one of the intensely imaginative stories in Rivka's Galchen's American Innovations, a young woman's furniture walks out on her. In another, the narrator feels compelled to promise to deliver a takeout order that has incorrectly been phoned in to her. In a third, the petty details of a property transaction illuminate the complicated pains and loves of a family.

The tales in this groundbreaking collection are secretly in conversation with canonical stories, reimagined from the perspective of female characters. Just as Wallace Stevens's "Anecdote of the Jar" responds to John Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn," Galchen's "The Lost Order" covertly recapitulates James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," while "The Region of Unlikeness" is a smoky and playful mirror to Jorge Luis Borges's "The Aleph." The title story, "American Innovations," revisits Nikolai Gogol's "The Nose."

By turns realistic, fantastical, witty, and lyrical, these marvelously uneasy stories are deeply emotional and written in exuberant, pitch-perfect prose. Whether exploring the tensions in a mother-daughter relationship or the finer points of time travel, Galchen is a writer like none other today.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Here, language and humor lift the ideas off the page. With her second book, Galchen continues to secure a place for herself among today's great prose stylists." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Galchen's prose gets into the eerie, angst-filled interior monologs of young women veering toward middle age yet leavens the anxiety with wry humor." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. This is a collection to read and keep on the bookshelf. It will stand the test of time." - Kirkus

This information about American Innovations 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

Rivka Galchen Author Biography

Photo: Ken Goebel

Rivka Galchen received her MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, having spent a year in South America working on public health issues. Galchen completed her MFA at Columbia University, where she was a Robert Bingham Fellow. Her essay on the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics was published in The Believer, and she is the recipient of a 2006 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. Galchen lives in New York City. She is the author of the novel Atmospheric Disturbances.

Name Pronunciation
Rivka Galchen: gull-chen (approx)

Other books by Rivka Galchen at BookBrowse
  • Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch jacket
  • Atmospheric Disturbances jacket
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