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The Source of Life and Other Stories

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Description

From “The Eight Rhetorical Mode” 
Later he asked, “Would you like to go for a hike sometime?” and two trains of thought left the station: He means to get to know me and we might leave the city together and it’s been a long time since I climbed a mountain. That train chugged into a wider brighter country all the time. The other train went by another route through the panicked interior. He’s a lunatic, it whistled. He’s been in and out of hospitals. He will take you to a mountaintop and throw you right off into the bright air: choo choo!

Post-divorce dating is one more cause for celebration (or a quick call in to the police) in Beth Bosworth’s revelatory new book, The Source of Life and Other Stories. The spine of this collection is a series of linked stories about Ruth Stein, a Brooklyn author whose first book has exposed her father’s abuses; while the voice here, speaking across a lifetime, ranges from bittersweet to humorous to lethal. In other stories Bosworth’s narrators—a mother left to care for her son’s suicidal dog, an editor haunted by a dog-eared manuscript—seem to grab hold of the reins and run off with their fates. Meanwhile Bosworth explores the extended family, the bonds of friendship, an apocalyptic Vermont, the rank yet redeemable Gowanus Canal; also rites of passage, race relations, divorce, middle-aged romance, dementia, funerals, alcoholism, and the Jewish religion. Reality is just another stumbling block for Bosworth’s characters, who might help themselves but don’t always choose to. There are leaps of faith here, nonetheless, as the collection dispenses a kind of narrative psychotropic for survival and redemption, with a chaser of humor mixed in. 

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 19, 2012 – In Bosworth's Drue Heinz Literature Prize-winning collection of stories three narrative threads are interwoven. One deals with a woman entering the dating world after divorce; another protagonist wrestles with the trails of growing up Jewish in Brooklyn. And many other stories seem associative to these, involved mostly with aging and a world on the other side of disaster. The opening and title story easily the best in the collection tells of a woman living alone with her two dogs in rural New England, where the local pond water makes people sick as the world teeters on the edge of environmental collapse. It's sharp and tragic. The stories that follow, however, struggle to match the opener. In the recurring narrative of the recent divorc e, we meet her two children, her mother, and a couple of boyfriends. And while she is in a state of wandering confusion, the stakes are low and the story is not as immediate as some others, like "The Year the World Turned" about girls at the border of adolescence, or "Lucky Dog," a bizarre tale of coming to terms with death at a crematorium. The collection as a whole is propelled forward by the intricate, linking narrative, but overall it's an uneven ride.
The Source of Life and Other Stories
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  • $15.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Sep 24, 2012
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Seller: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Print Length: 218 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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