A sharp, funny, delightfully unhinged collection of stories set in the dark world of domesticity, American Housewife features murderous ladies who lunch, celebrity treasure hunters, and the best bra fitter south of the Mason Dixon line.
Meet the women of American Housewife: they wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. They pump the salad spinner like it’s a CPR dummy. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These twelve irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the unique initiation ritual of a book club to the getaway car of a pageant princess on the lam, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop. Vicious, fresh, and nutty as a poisoned Goo Goo Cluster, American Housewife is an uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood.
“A triumph of storytelling. Henríquez pulls us into the lives of her characters with such mastery that we hang on to them just as fiercely as they hang on to one another and their dreams. This passionate, powerful novel will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.” —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
A boy and a girl who fall in love. Two families whose hopes collide with destiny. An extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.
Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better.
When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core.
Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart.
Suspenseful, wry and immediate, rich in spirit and humanity, The Book of Unknown Americans is a work of rare force and originality.
This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
The Oxford Book of the American South resonates with the words of black people and white, women and men, the powerless as well as the powerful. The collection presents the most telling fiction and nonfiction produced in the South from the late eighteenth century to the present. Renowned authors such as James Agee, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Lee Smith, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, and Flannery O’Connor appear in these pages, but so do people whose writing did not immediately reach a large audience. For example, Harriet A. Jacobs’ book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, which is now recognized as one of the most illuminating narratives of a former slave, was neglected for generations. And Sarah Morgan’s powerful Civil War Diary has only recently come to widespread attention. The Oxford Book of the American South presents compelling autobiographies, diaries, memoirs, and journalism as well as stories and selections from novels, and runs the spectrum from the conservative to the radical, the traditional to the innovative. Editors Edward L. Ayers and Bradley C. Mittendorf have arranged these diverse readings so that they fit together into a rich mosaic of Southern life and history. The sections of the book The Old South, The Civil War and Its Consequences, Hard Times, and The Turning unfold a vivid record of life below the Mason Dixon line. We see the antebellum period both from the perspective of those who experienced it first-hand, such as Thomas Jefferson and former slaves Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass, and then from the perspective of authors looking back on that era, including William Styron and Sherley Anne Williams. Likewise, we see the Civil War through the eyes of witnesses such as Sam Watkins, through the eyes of later writers trying to make sense of the conflict, such as Robert Penn Warren, and through the eyes of those using the war’s intense passions to fuel their fiction, such as Margaret Mitchell and Barry Hannah. The classic authors of the Southern Renaissance in the 1920s and 1930s appear here in the context of the hard times in which they wrote. The years since World War II are chronicled in the powerful words of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” George Garrett’s “Good bye, Good bye, Be Always Kind and True,” and Peter Taylor’s “The Decline and Fall of the Episcopal Church, in the Year of Our Lord 1952.” The editors have selected these readings, their Preface tells us, to convey “the passions that have surfaced time and again in more than two hundred years of Southern writing.” Indeed, the struggles, defeats, and triumphs chronicled in The Oxford Book of the American South speak not just to the South, but to all of the American experience. They document and evoke some of the most dramatic episodes in the nation’s life
Classic and Contemporary Writers: Here, generously represented, are the writers who have shaped the tradition, among them Emma Lazarus, Abraham Cahan, Henry Roth, Nathanael West, Clifford Odets, Tillie Olsen, Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, Grace Paley, Philip Roth, Allen Ginsberg, Cynthia Ozick, and Harold Bloom. Joining them are younger writers such as Melvin Jules Bukiet, Jacqueline Osherow, Art Speigelman, Steve Stern and Allegra Goodman, who bring the tradition up to its thriving present. Yiddish and Hebrew Writing in AmericaJewish American Literature: Traces in breadth and depth America s rich Yiddish-language culture, from the work of Morris Rosenfeld and David Edelshtadt in the 1880s through the Yunge and Introspectivist movements to the post-Holocaust writings of Kadya Molodowsky and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Also represented is Hebrew writing, in translations of the work of Ephraim E. Lisitzky and modernist Gabriel Preil. Special Sections: “Jewish Humor” offers choice selections of Groucho Marx, Woody Allen, and a cluster of perennial Jewish jokes; “The Golden Age of the Broadway Song” samples the unforgettable lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II, Irving Berlin, Frank Loesser, and Stephen Sondheim, among others; “Jews Translating Jews” reflects on the translator s role in transmitting tradition, gathering poems translated from Yiddish, Hebrew, German, Hungarian, Italian, and Spanish by Jewish American poets from Emma Lazarus to David Unger. Helpful and Lively Reader s Apparatus: The Reader s Apparatus includes a general introduction, period introductions, author headnotes, explanatory annotations, and selected bibliographies. “
For the first time in four decades, there exists an authoritative and up-to-date survey of the literature of the United States, from prehistoric cave narratives to the radical movements of the sixties and the experimentation of the eighties.
This comprehensive volume — one of the century’s most important books in American studies — extensively treats Hawthorne, Melville, Dickinson, Hemingway, and other long-cherished writers, while also giving considerable attention to recently discovered writers such as Kate Chopin and to literary movements and forms of writing not studied amply in the past. Informed by the most current critical and theoretical ideas, it sets forth a generation’s interpretation of the rise of American civilization and culture.
The Columbia Literary History of the United States contains essays by today’s foremost scholars and critics, overseen by a board of distinguished editors headed by Emory Elliott of Princeton University. These contributors reexamine in contemporary terms traditional subjects such as the importance of Puritanism, Romanticism, and frontier humor in American life and writing, but they also fully explore themes and materials that have only begun to receive deserved attention in the last two decades. Among these are the role of women as writers, readers, and literary subjects and the impact of writers from minority groups, both inside and outside the literary establishment.
Mediation is the term James Ruppert uses to describe his important new theory of reading Native American fiction. Focusing on novels of six major contemporary American writers – N. Scott Momaday, James Welch, Leslie Silko, Gerald Vizenor, D’Arcy McNickle, and Louise Erdrich – Ruppert analyzes the ways in which these writers draw upon their bicultural heritage, guiding Native and non-Native readers alike to a different and expanded understanding of each other’s worlds.
While Native American writers may criticize white society, revealing its past and present injustices, their emphasis, Ruppert argues, is on healing, survival, and continuance. Their fiction aims to produce cross-cultural understanding rather than divisiveness. To that end they articulate the perspectives and values of competing world views. In particular they create characters who manifest what Ruppert calls “multiple identities” – determined by both Native and non-Native perceptions of the self.
These writers use a variety of narrative techniques deriving from different cultural traditions. They might incorporate Native oral storytelling techniques, adapting them to written form, or they might reconstruct Native mythologies, investing them with new meaning and relevance by applying them to contemporary situations. As novel-writers, they also include features more characteristic of western European writing – such as the omniscient narrator or the detective-story plot.
Central Americans are one of the largest Latino population groups in the United States. Yet, Arturo Arias argues, the cultural production of Central Americans remains little known to North Americans.
In Taking Their Word, Arias complicates notions of the cultural production of Central America, from Mexico in the North to Panama in the South. He charts the literature of Central America’s liberation struggles of the 1970s and 1980s, its transformation after peace treaties were signed, the emergence of a new Maya literature that decenters Latin American literature written in Spanish, and the rise and fall of testimonio. Arias demonstrates that Central America and its literature are marked by an indigenousness that has never before been fully theorized or critically grasped. Never one to avoid controversy, Arias proffers his views of how the immigration of Central Americans to North America has changed the cultural topography of both zones.
With this groundbreaking work, Arias establishes the importance of Central American literature and provides a frame for future studies of the region’s culture.
Arturo Arias is director of Latin American studies at the University of Redlands. He is the author of six novels in Spanish and editor of The Rigoberta Mench Controversy (Minnesota, 2001).