Becky Hagenston's debut collection, "A Gram of Mars" was selected
by A.M. Homes as the 1997 Winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in
Short Fiction, these stories portray the modern family as one that
refuses to be fashionably dysfunctional. In the hyphenated,
divorced, and step-parented context of the late twentieth century,
Hagenston reminds us, it is the minister and his wife in a small
town in Maryland who are unconventional. These stories, conveyed
with spirited, conversational prose, prove that the meaning of
family prevails. In "Holding the Fort," a husband's infidelity
dissolves his marriage but not the couple's emotional ties. And in
"A Gram of Mars," an adult daughter responds to her divorced
father's anguish upon learning of his ex-wife's remarriage, and the
whole fractured family reconvenes for an evening: "Beside me, my
father is breathing slow and regular as a child, and I wonder
suddenly if he's fallen asleep. But his eyes are open, fixed on the
road. For a moment, I believe I know what he's thinking-he has seen
the woman he loves, and his daughter is beside him, and for now
everything is just as simple as that. . . . When he sighs, I lean
back in my seat and try to think of nothing. The sky vaults over us
and silence settles down, like a pact we've made together, like a
precious, immeasurable weight."
Hagenston manages, with subtle emotional logic, to turn the joke
of the dysfunctional family on its head. As one character says, "If
something can begin millions of years ago on Mars and somehow,
miraculously, find its way to my father-then why not something
simpler, like happiness, which happens every day right here on
Becky Hagenston grew up in Maryland and received her MFA from
the University of Arizona. Her stories have appeared in or are
forthcoming from such journals as "TriQuarterly, Shenandoah, The
Crescent Review, Antietam Review, Folio, Press," and "Carolina
Quarterly." One of her stories was included in Prize Stories 1996:
The O'Henry Awards. She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
|Country of origin:
||235 x 157 x 21mm (L x W x T)
||Hardcover - Sewn / Cloth over boards
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