A masterful literary talent explores the treacherous, often violent borders between war and sex, love and art.
With the flash of a camera, one girl’s life is shattered, and a host of others altered forever. . .
In a war-torn village in Eastern Europe, an American photographer captures a heart-stopping image: a young girl flying toward the lens, fleeing a fiery explosion that has engulfed her home and family. The image wins acclaim and prizes, becoming an icon for millions—and a subject of obsession for one writer, the photographer’s best friend, who has suffered a devastating tragedy of her own.
As the writer plunges into a suicidal depression, her filmmaker husband enlists several friends, including a fearless bisexual poet and an ingenuous performance artist, to save her by rescuing the unknown girl and bringing her to the United States. And yet, as their plot unfolds, everything we know about the story comes into question: What does the writer really want? Who is controlling the action? And what will happen when these two worlds—east and west, real and virtual—collide?
A fierce, provocative, and deeply affecting novel of both ideas and action that blends the tight construction of Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending with the emotional power of Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Small Backs of Children is a major step forward from one of our most avidly watched writers.
Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the National Bestselling novel The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader's Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and three books of short stories. Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader's Choice. She founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland Oregon, where she also teaches Women's Studies, Film Studies, Writing, and Literature. She received her doctorate in Literature from the University of Oregon. She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.
Becky, orphan, survivor, caffeine addict, on the verge of 30 and hoping to become famous with her first solo show of dismemberment collages in New York's East Village. Hugh, now a CPA in California, once the most sophisticated undergrad and object of Becky's frustrated desire and rivalry with Callie. Max, all leather, brooding and disguise, the actor who Callie left Hugh for, and who also had an affair with big-hearted, victimized dancer, Dahlia.
For as long as they have known each other their common language has been Callie—past tense. When Dahlia plots a revenge drama to be staged at Becky's gallery opening, she unwittingly revives their nostalgia for the outcast Callie's seductive charm and sets in motion a plan that forces Becky and Callie to play out their lethal emotional rivalry to the end. Told from the point of view of Becky, Narcissus Ascending is an unputdownable debut. Karen McKinnon's dissection of friendship, and the manipulative rivalry of two strong women is provocative and disturbing.
Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.
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