Combining hard-edged prose and savage Southern charm, Mary Miller showcases biting contemporary talent at its best. In The Last Days of California, she now reaches new heights with this collection of shockingly relatable, ill-fated love stories.
Acerbic and ruefully funny, Always Happy Hour weaves tales of young women--deeply flawed and intensely real - who struggle to get out of their own way. They love to drink and have sex; they make bad decisions with men who either love them too much or too little; and they haunt a Southern terrain of gas stations, public pools, and dive bars. Though each character shoulders the weight of her own baggage - whether it's a string of horrible exes, a boyfriend with an annoying child, or an inability to be genuinely happy for a best friend - they are united in their unrelenting suspicion that they deserve better.
These women seek understanding in the most unlikely places: a dilapidated foster home where love is a liability in "Big Bad Love," a trailer park littered with a string of bad decisions in "Uphill," and the unfamiliar corners of a dream home purchased with the winnings of a bitter divorce settlement in "Charts." Taking a microscope to delicate patterns of love and intimacy, Miller evokes the reticent love among the misunderstood, the gritty comfort in bad habits that can't be broken, and the beat-by-beat minutiae of fated relationships.
Like an evening of drinking, Always Happy Hour is a comforting burn, warm and intoxicating in its brutal honesty. In an unforgettable style that distinguishes her within her generation, Miller once again captures womanhood in "a raw and heartbreaking way" (Los Angeles Review of Books) and solidifies her essential role in American fiction.
Miller’s collection is sixteen interpretations of millennial feminism, laced with drugs and depression, sex and anxiety. There’s a touch of Freud’s What does a woman want? driving each narrative, but conversely each protagonist claims control of her life in spite of her (sometimes) passivity. Miller’s writing can sparkle with insightfulness – "When you leave me, you won’t really be leaving me, I think, you’ll be leaving the girl you thought I was, who was kind of like me, but not."
(Reviewed by Gary Presley).
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Winner of the 2015 Pitt Drue Heinz Literature Prize.
In such acclaimed novels as Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic, National Book Awardwinning author Colum McCann has transfixed readers with his precision, tenderness, and authority. Now, in his first collection of short fiction in more than a decade, McCann charts the territory of chance, and the profound and intimate consequences of ...
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