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A Guide to Being Born


This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Reminiscent of Aimee Bender and Karen Russell, from the author of the forthcoming collection, Awayland—an enthralling book of stories that uses the world of the imagination to explore the heart of the human condition.

Major literary talent Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty, combines the otherworldly wisdom of her much-loved debut novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us, with the precision of the short-story form. A Guide to Being Born is organized around the stages of life—love, conception, gestation, birth—and the transformations that happen as people experience deeply altering life events, falling in love, becoming parents, looking toward the end of life. In each of these eleven stories Ausubel’s stunning imagination and humor are moving, entertaining, and provocative, leading readers to see the familiar world in a new way.

In “Atria” a pregnant teenager believes she will give birth to any number of strange animals rather than a human baby; in “Catch and Release” a girl discovers the ghost of a Civil War hero living in the woods behind her house; and in “Tributaries” people grow a new arm each time they fall in love. Funny, surprising, and delightfully strange—all the stories have a strong emotional core; Ausubel’s primary concern is always love, in all its manifestations.

From Publishers Weekly

18 February 2013 – Ausubel follows up her debut novel, No One is Here Except All of Us, with a charming, at times precious collection of stories that tackles the frustrations and fantasies of being alive. Split into four parts birth, gestation, conception, and love the volume deposits characters in a real world gone awry, a place where true adoration is accompanied by the growth of additional love-arms, men sprout drawers of bone in their chests, and the ghosts of Civil War generals play catch with youngsters. Dabbling frequently in broken families, the author s greatest triumphs come in narratives that weave the defeated with the absurd. Atria finds a pregnant teenager convinced her growing baby will not be human, and in Snow Remote, a family practices strange habits, from manning an elaborate Christmas display to engaging in phone sex all while living under the clouded memory of a lost matriarch. Quite often, and with great effect, the misplaced and aimless find solace. Still, the quirk factor occasionally works overtime, leading to eccentric character-naming (Mother Mom; Professor Paul Pretoria) and jarringly peculiar moments, like in Saver, when a character performs an impromptu dental inspection on a first date.
A Guide to Being Born
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  • USD 13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Short Stories
  • Published: 02 May 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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