Survival Skills: Stories
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"This book will bring you closer to the things that are important in life."
— Lori Ostlund, author of The Bigness of the World
"Jean Ryan's Survival Skills offers a wry look at the ways in which intimate relationships, ambitions, and desires are often foiled and skewed by the natural world."
— Henriette Lazaridis Power, author of The Clover House
"The keenly observed stories in Survival Skills shine with insight, intelligence and, frequently, a most welcome portion of humor…This is fiction that matters."
— Mary Kalfatovic, Editor, The Committee Room
Jean Ryan’s debut collection tells stories of nature and of human nature.
The characters who inhabit Jean Ryan’s graceful, imaginative collection of stories are survivors of accidents and acts of nature, of injuries both physical and emotional. Ryan writes of beauty and aging, of love won and lost—with characters enveloped in the mysteries of the natural world and the animal kingdom.
In “Greyhound,” a woman brings home a rescued dog for her troubled partner in hopes that they might heal one another—while the dog in “What Gretel Knows” is the keeper of her owner’s deepest secrets. In “Migration,” a recently divorced woman retreats to a lakefront cabin where she is befriended by a mysterious Canada goose just as autumn begins to turn to winter. As a tornado ravages three towns in “The Spider in the Sink,” a storm chaser’s wife spares the life of a spider as she anxiously waits for her husband to return. And in “A Sea Change,” a relationship falls victim to a woman’s obsession with the world below the waves.
The world is at once a beautiful and perilous place, Jean Ryan’s stories tell us, and our lives are defined by the shelters we build.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly