House Fires by Nancy Reisman
(Iowa Short Fiction Award)

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Synopsis

Winner of the 1999 Iowa Short Fiction Award
"Fire blooms," writes Nancy Reisman, "blooms again, marking us, dismantling what we believed invioble. At times we can do nothing but record its stunning recklessness." The award-winning stories in House Fires sift through the smoldering evidence of relationships come undone. In lyrical and sometimes haunting prose, Reisman explores the private histories of families and lovers spiraling toward catastrophe.

These eleven stories travel from snowbound Buffalo in the 1940s to present-day Boston, Providence, and San Francisco and across the domestic terrain of desire's unruly claims to the nuances of grief. In the title story, a young woman whose sister has been killed in a fire reckons with her parents' silent suffering and finds transcendence through film. In a series of stories set in post-World War II Buffalo and Manhattan, the members of a close-knit Jewish family are caught up in a maze of clandestine desires-none of which can be fulfilled. The collection's final series turns to one family's complex generational links: a college student confronted by her own assumptions about race and sexuality; a grandmother slipping into mental decline; a middle-aged mother juggling bewilderment, love, and grief.

Passion and heartbreak are often intertwined in these stories as Reisman reveals the ways in which women and men are inevitably shaped by their histories and the ways in which their bodies carry the legacy of loss.

 

About Nancy Reisman

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Nancy Reisman is the author of House Fires, a short story collection that won the 1999 Iowa Short Fiction Award. Her work has appeared in, among other anthologies and journals, Best American Short Stories 2001, Tin House, and The Kenyon Review. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She lives in Ann Arbor, where she currently teaches creative writing at the University of Michigan.
 
Published October 1, 1999 by University Of Iowa Press. 228 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for House Fires

Publishers Weekly

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The 11 stories in Reisman's low-key debut collection, winner of the 1999 Iowa Short Fiction Award, are set everywhere from 1948 Buffalo to 1981 San Francisco and feature emotionally needy characters dealing with loss, unrequited desire and self-discovery, most often against the backdrop of a care...

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Austin Chronicle

Winner of the 1999 Iowa Short Fiction Award, Nancy Reisman's collection of stories, House Fires, is populated by perceptive yet lonely characters trying to find their places in the world.

Apr 28 2000 | Read Full Review of House Fires (Iowa Short Ficti...

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