Now You See It . . . by Bathsheba Monk
Stories from Cokesville, PA

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It's pretty much a straight shot from the upstate New York towns of Richard Russo's books to Bathsheba Monk's Cokesville, PA. This is coal and steel country. The sort of place where an inch of soot on the windowsill means a regular paycheck--and two inches means a fat one. And what's the best make-out spot in town? Next to the burning slag heap.

In seventeen beguiling, linked stories, spanning fourty-five years, Monk brings a corner of America alive as never before. Her world bursts with indelible characters: Mrs. Szilborski, who bakes great cake, but sprays her neighbors' dogs with mace; and Mrs. Wojic, who believes her husband was reincarnated--as one of those dogs. Then there is the younger generation: Annie Kusiak , who wants to write, and Theresa Gojuk, who dreams of stardom. Cokesville is their Yoknapatawpha; they ache to escape it and the ghosts of their ancestors and the regret of their parents. What ghosts--and what regrets! When Theresa's father Bruno falls into a vat of molten steel, the mill gives the family an ingot roughly his weight to bury.

As deliciously wry as Allegra Goodman in The Family Markowitz, and with the matter-of-fact humanity of Grace Paley, Bathsheba Monk leads us into a world that is at once totally surprising and recognizable. These stories glow like molten steel.


About Bathsheba Monk

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Bathsheba Monk is the author of Now You See It . . . Stories from Cokesville, PA. She lives in Pennsylvania.
Published August 18, 2003 by Sarah Crichton Books. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Tess becomes a star for a moment in Hollywood, then a soap-opera diva, then something on the fringe, until she finally becomes a producer, when the son she adopted long ago comes calling in “Now You Don’t.” The best in the collection is “Mrs. Szewczak and the Rescue Dog.” Stranded at a bus stop d...

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After 30 years, Mrs. Szilborski turns on her neighbor Mrs. Wojic and her two dogs, one of which Mrs. Wojic believes is the reincarnation of her dead husband.

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