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Survival Skills: Stories

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


"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

Apr 22, 2013 – Watchful animals populate this debut story collection from Ryan (Lost Sister), blurring the distinctions between themselves and people as they seek comfort among each other. In "Greyhound", a couple struggles to acclimate their rescue dog, once made to race ten times a night, to the pampered pet life; and in "A Sea Change," a woman notices her girlfriend become "more fish than human" when the creatures she looks after at the Monterey Bay Aquarium displace their relationship on dry land. Ryan's diction often adapts to her stories' environments. Humans don't make love, they mate; a woman car-wrecked face molts as she transforms into a beautiful stranger. Ryan's plain-spoken language, punctuated with facts and anecdotes about the natural world, balances daily drudgery with the sublime. When in "Migration" a recently divorced woman seeks the restorative calm of Lake Tahoe, an oddly affectionate goose won't leave her side. And while her protagonist reads a coffee table book about what animals must do to survive, she cocoons in her remote hideaway. Life's brutalities amnesia, coma, and quirks of human nature are extreme yet familiar in this captivating collection. Ryan controls devastating psychological material with tight prose, quick scene changes, and a scientist's observant eye.
Survival Skills: Stories
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Short Stories
  • Published: Apr 01, 2013
  • Publisher: Ashland Creek Press
  • Seller: Byte Level Research LLC
  • Print Length: 212 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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