In Referred Pain Lynne Sharon Schwartz surpasses her reputation as a scrupulous stylist who writes with both passion and discipline. Here, as in her earlier collections, the stories, whether realistic or fanciful, are distinguished by their intensity and their impeccable attention to the nuances of language. Her characters confront inner demons, playing out fantasies they crave and dread. On the surface, they are living ordinary lives, but Schwartz reveals their subversions and perversions with wicked wit and psychological acuity.
In the title novella, Koslowski, beset by a kind of survivor's guilt, insists to the point of absurdity that his elaborate dental work is emblematic of his immigrant parents' suffering in a German concentration camp and in the siege of Leningrad. In "Francesca," a mild professor finds himself calmly contemplating incest. In "Hostages of Fortune," a seemingly conventional couple live out an extend ed fantasy of raising two imaginary children. In "Sightings of Loretta," a journalist realizes he has spent years pursuing a chimerical, unfulfilled romance, while oblivious to his own wife. Several of the stories take place in the surreal realm of fantasy itself.
Schwartz, an award-winning writer, has been lauded for her precisely observed domestic dramas and comedies and described as having an anthropologist's eye for her characters and their stories. This collection will give further resonance to her already distinguished literary reputation.
Author Biography: Lynne Sharon Schwartz is the author of fourteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels Disturbances in the Field, Leaving Brooklyn (nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award), Rough Strife (nominated for the PEN/Hemingway First Novel Award), and In the Family Way: An Urban Comedy; the memoir Ruined by Reading; and the poetry collection In Solitary. She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Foundation for the Arts. She lives in New York City.
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In the unsettling title novella of Schwartz's latest collection of stories, the deluded son of Holocaust survivors feels that he can finally understand the anguish his parents have experiencedJan 19 2004 | Read Full Review of Referrred Pain and other stories