"Every woman gets a call like this sooner or later. The phone rings, a man says: 'This is a voice from your past.'" The opening of the compelling title story of Merrill Joan Gerber's collection sets the tone for each of the thirteen remarkable pieces therein, two of them previously unpublished. Set mostly in Southern California in seemingly peaceful, suburban households—Gerber's stories expose the raw, sometimes murderous impulses normally hidden beneath the facade of middle-class life. From the vulnerable women of "I Don't Believe This" and "Night Stalker" to the increasingly paranoid housewife of "Dogs Bark"; from the ferocious infighting of family life in "We Know That Your Hearts Are Heavy," "A Daughter of My Own," and "Latitude" to the sudden triumphs of unexpected revelation in "Approval" and "See Bonnie & Clyde Death Car," Merrill Joan Gerber's powerful collection confirms her place among the ranks of America's best fiction writers.
"Veteran novelist, memoirist and short story author Gerber (Stop Here, My Friend) demonstrates her prowess in several of these compelling stories. The title tale is hands-down the most entertaining, thrusting readers into an established writer's life as she receives a call out of the blue from a college friend, Ricky, the most gifted writer in her class who somehow lost that "window of opportunity" to his success and is now transient and unstable… Overall, Gerber demonstrates power in her prose style, skill in her characterizations… Hers is a work of substance and intelligence." —Publishers Weekly
"Seasoned novelist and memoirist Gerber provides another collection of deceptively quiet short stories. Her matter-of-fact tone lulls the initially unsuspecting reader into a state of complacency before shocking layers of hidden truths are peeled away one at a time… This seriously underrated and often-overlooked writer has the ability to speak volumes in the short-story format." —Margaret Flanagan, Booklist
"If, as critic A. Alvarez maintains, voice is the essence of good writing, Merrill Joan Gerber has a voice that is hard to forget: forceful, unvarnished, at times even vehement, a lot like Philip Roth's. Although Gerber may lack Roth's outrageous sense of humor, his sheer inventiveness and his free-ranging engagement with politics, society and culture, she is capable of the same kind of emotional intensity and raw power. And, when it comes to depicting the nuances of personal relationships, she can be shrewder, subtler and more telling… Indeed, few modern writers can match Gerber's portrayal of the strains, embarrassments and satisfactions of family life, the subject that has inspired her best work for the last four decades in novels such as An Antique Man and King of the World and in the many short stories she has written… In plain clear language incapable of disguise or pretension, Gerber discloses the source of the pain and, with a charity equal to her clarity, celebrates the satisfaction that comes with understanding." —Los Angeles Times
About Merrill Joan Gerber
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Published May 6, 2012
by Dzanc Books.
Literature & Fiction.