May You Live in Interesting Times by Tereze Gluck
(Iowa Short Fiction Award)

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Obsession, adultery, infidelity, unrequited love, suicide, betrayal, death—Tereze Glück's clear-sighted characters coolly assess their actions and reactions. When a man's wife dies suddenly, he feels liberated, and learning this stuns him. Taking a leap into personhood, a child watching her mother in the garden experiences empathy. A woman addicted to a lover realizes how she has squandered herself. A kiss in a taxicab sets two people on the road to inevitability. Scars, even small ones, reflect the power and mystery of the roads people take from one life into another. In the intense title story, suicide, long-distance love, and a cat's nine lives overshadow a woman's subterranean life.

Glück's wry and rueful stories chronicle her characters' struggles to tell the truth regardless of where that might lead them. Insistent, stubbornly spirited voices inform these tales; Glück's characters dig in their heels and announce, for good or ill, “This is who I am.” In the end their moral integrity forces them to come face to face with themselves. At the intersection where these insightful stories take place, what is in one's heart and what one reveals to the world converge. Each story is a resonant act of self-discovery for both writer and reader.


About Tereze Gluck

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Published October 1, 1995 by University Of Iowa Press. 180 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The title story, named after a famous Chinese curse, is narrated by an unnamed New York professional woman, a single mother with a daughter and two cats, who reflects fragmentarily on her trips to Asia, a novel by Paul Auster and some of her past lovers.

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