In Lori Ostlund’s debut collection people seeking escape from situations at home venture out into a world that they find is just as complicated and troubled as the one they left behind.
In prose highlighted by both satire and poignant observation, Ostlund offers characters that represent a different sort of everyman―men and women who poke fun at ideological rigidity while holding fast to good grammar and manners, people seeking connections in a world that seems increasingly foreign. In “Upon Completion of Baldness” a young woman shaves her head for a part in a movie in Hong Kong that will help her escape life with her lover in Albuquerque. The precocious narrator of “All Boy” finds comfort when he is locked in a closet by a babysitter. In “Dr. Deneau’s Punishment” a math teacher leaving New York for Minnesota as a means of punishing himself engages in an unsettling method of discipline. A lesbian couple whose relationship is disintegrating flees to the Moroccan desert in “The Children beneath the Seat.” And in “Idyllic Little Bali” a group of Americans gathers around a pool in Java to discuss their brushes with fame and ends up witnessing a man’s fatal flight from his wife.
In the eleven stories in The Bigness of the World we see that wherever you are in the world, where you came from is never far away.
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Ostlund will certainly soon be marking her place among writers like Michelle Huneven, Shirley Jackson, Alice Munro, Dorothy Allison, and Karen Joy Fowler—masters of their own devastating, immersive universes. An achingly beautiful collection as unpredictable and resonant as life itself.Read Full Review of The Bigness of the World (Fla... | See more reviews from Kirkus
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