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Reviews of Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King

Five Tuesdays in Winter

by Lily King

Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King X
Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2021, 240 pages

    Paperback:
    Nov 2022, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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About this Book

Book Summary

By the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers, Lily King's first-ever collection of exceptional and innovative short stories.

With Writers & Lovers and Euphoria, Lily King's books catapulted onto bestseller and best-of-the-year lists across the country and established her as one of our most "brilliant" (New York Times Book Review), "wildly talented" (Chicago Tribune), and beloved authors in contemporary fiction. Now, for the first time ever, King collects ten of her finest short stories—half published in leading literary magazines and half brand new—opening fresh realms of discovery for avid and new readers alike.

Told in the intimate voices of unique and endearing characters of all ages, these tales explore desire and heartache, loss and discovery, moments of jolting violence and the inexorable tug toward love at all costs. A bookseller's unspoken love for his employee rises to the surface, a neglected teenage boy finds much-needed nurturing from an unlikely pair of college students hired to housesit, a girl's loss of innocence at the hands of her employer's son becomes a catalyst for strength and confidence, and a proud nonagenarian rages helplessly in his granddaughter's hospital room. Romantic, hopeful, brutally raw, and unsparingly honest, some even slipping into the surreal, these stories are, above all, about King's enduring subject of love.

Lily King's literary mastery, her spare and stunning prose, and her gift for creating lasting and treasured characters are on full display in this curated selection of short fiction. Five Tuesdays in Winter showcases an exhilarating new form for this extraordinarily gifted author writing at the height of her career.

Creature

The summer I was fourteen, a few months after my mother had moved us out of my father's house, I was offered a job on Widows' Point babysitting this old lady's grandchildren who had come to visit for two weeks. Mrs. Pike got her dresses fitted at my mother's shop and the two of them made these arrangements without consulting me. It wasn't like my other babysitting jobs, a few hours at a time. I had to live there. I can't remember the conversation with my mother, if I'd wanted to go or if I'd put up a fight. I fought her on so many things back then.

The Point was a frying pan–shaped spit of land that thrust out into the Atlantic. Beyond it, at low tide, you could see a crescent of rocks offshore, but at high tide the water hid them entirely. No doubt it was those rocks, several hundred years earlier, that made the widows who'd given the Point its name. My father still owned the house I'd grown up in, on the handle of the pan, and to get to the Pikes' from our apartment ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Some of the stories are romantic, others are retrospective coming-of-age narratives and a few tip over into subtle magic realism. Most are set in New England, but the time and place varies from the 1960s to the present day and from Maine to northern Europe. Several stories look back to a 1980s adolescence. "South" and "The Man at the Door" are refreshingly different, incorporating touches of magic and suspense. There aren't particularly strong linking themes, apart from the categories of love and coming of age. While I'd hoped for a tighter knit between stories, some are excellent, and the questions of love's transience and whether any relationship can ever match up to expectations linger...continued

Full Review (701 words)

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(Reviewed by Rebecca Foster).

Media Reviews

Boston Globe
Fierce, funny, tender stories that demonstrate both range and emotional heft… All of them are stunners.

Esquire
The acclaimed author of Writers & Lovers returns with ten shimmering stories, each one a gemlike exploration of love, loss, and grief...Each masterful story reminds us that King is one of our finest cartographers of the human heart.

New York Times Book Review
In our time of anxiety and isolation, King writes stories to curl up in, by which I mean they afford us something rarely celebrated in literature: comfort.

People
A masterful, enchanting collection of stories illuminating the spectrum of human love—the platonic, the unrequited, the forbidden and the unconditional.

Vogue
These are stories of outsiders finding their people, of new perspectives, and they place King—already one of our most poignant and moving contemporary novelists—among Lorrie Moore, Alice Munro, and Mary Gaitskill as one of our great short-story writers as well.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
King, who won the inaugural Kirkus Prize for Fiction for Euphoria (2014), can make you fall in love with a character fast, especially the smart, vulnerable, often painfully self-conscious adolescent protagonists featured in several of the 10 stories collected here, half previously published, half new...Full of insights and pleasures.

Library Journal (starred review)
A series of beautifully written character studies brimming with insight into the human condition.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A] rich and varied collection filled with characters whose lives are transformed by old and new acquaintances, addiction, and the written word... These stories crackle and shine, and King is a master of the thumbnail portrait: she can create a fully realized life in a single paragraph and then alter it in breathtaking ways. This is a must for fans of the short story.

Author Blurb Ann Patchett
Five Tuesdays in Winter moved me, inspired me, thrilled me. It filled up every chamber of my heart. I loved this book.

Reader Reviews

Cathryn Conroy

An Impressive Collection of Short Stories: From the Delightful to the Dark, Each One is a Gem
I read a lot of short story collections, and it's rare that almost all the stories in the collection are excellent. This is one of those rare collections. Each of the 10 stories has a compelling plot, characters that seem real, and just the right ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Contemporary New England Fiction Writers

The stories in Lily King's Five Tuesdays in Winter include settings in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, three of the six northeastern states of the USA that are collectively known as New England (the others being New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island). Below we've highlighted some other contemporary authors who reside in and/or set their fiction in New England, along with examples of their works that reference the region.

Covers of books set in New England

Stephen L. Carter: Carter has been a law professor at Yale since 1982. Alongside his academic publications, he has written six novels. These are epic works of suspense, some historical and some contemporary, and often involve legal battles. His main characters are generally upper-class African Americans. ...

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