Some Fun by Antonya Nelson
Stories And a Novella

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Synopsis

One of the most award-winning, critically acclaimed story writers working today, Antonya Nelson has a list of accolades that is astonishing for any writer, but especially for one as young as she. With her newest collection, Nelson once again proves herself worthy of her stellar reputation, delivering seven taut, striking stories and a brilliant novella, all exploring the tensions of troubled family relations.

Nelson is an extraordinary chronicler of the fraught relationships between parents and children and husbands and wives. With her particular understanding of the threats and vulnerabilities of wild adolescence, as well as the complicated, persistent love that often lies dormant beneath the drama of rebellion, she illuminates the hidden corners of her characters' lives.

The shy, shoplifting sixteen-year-old protagonist in the title novella is trying to understand how to become an adult while going through a year of family disaster. We watch as she dabbles in the same adult behaviors that so repulse her about her parents (binge drinking, sex) while maintaining so much of her adolescent insecurity and confusion. "Dick" is a moving story about a mother who, having lost her daughter to the vicissitudes of adolescence, has a compulsion to protect her innocent, preadolescent son from the aggressive and encroaching post-9/11 adult world. The homeless teen at the heart of "Eminent Domain" is a pampered Houston rich girl who has, for her own reasons, taken to the streets.

Radiating an emotional intensity that unifies the entire collection, each of Nelson's stories both captivates and unnerves. As her characters run the gauntlet of often bewildering family tensions and trauma, she alternates hope and despair, resentment and love, in perfectly recognizable proportions.

Weaving wonderful observation with quick wit and striking insight, Some Fun is a timely and provocative inventory of the state of family in America -- and proof of why Nelson is one of the most important writers at work today.
 

About Antonya Nelson

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Antonya Nelson is the author of three novels and three previous short-story collections. She has been awarded the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Award, the Flannery O'Connor Award, the PEN Nelson Algren Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a Guggenheim. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and Esquire, as well as in The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories anthologies. She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with her husband, the writer Robert Boswell, and their two children.
 
Published March 21, 2006 by Scribner. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Some Fun

Kirkus Reviews

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And in “Eminent Domain,” a middle-aged actor falls hard for a wild young debutante living on the streets, “her flame of a head” with its wild corona of dyed purple hair “swaying on the thin stick of her body.” Ruefully, he later realizes he never knew what mattered to her, and was completely peri...

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The New York Times

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By the end of this digressive, rambling and mordantly funny story, Evan imagines that he has liberated himself from the dead mother by having sex with a girl named Merry Christmas, but his optimism is confounded by the story's final words, coming to Evan as if from far away: "And I hope you're ha...

Mar 26 2006 | Read Full Review of Some Fun: Stories And a Novella

The New York Times

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"Some Fun" is a wistfully ironic title for Antonya Nelson's fifth story collection, seven thematically linked stories and a novella set in parts of the United States as varied as Southern California, Colorado, Kansas City, rural Montana and Texas (Houston, El Paso).

Mar 26 2006 | Read Full Review of Some Fun: Stories And a Novella

Publishers Weekly

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Adults consider but rarely do the right thing, while damaged children instinctively persevere in Nelson's skillful collection of seven stories and a novella, set in wide-open, arid Western states.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Reviewers praise her way with metaphor, her rich characterizations, and, most prominently, her avoidance of cliché on the well-worn turf of American families.

Aug 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Some Fun: Stories And a Novella

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