This Will Be Difficult to Explain by Johanna Skibsrud
And Other Stories

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Skibsrud’s narrators, whether quiet, tormented men or quiet, somewhat credulous women, tend to be as undefined as their settings. Her strongest stories seize on this ambiguity, transforming into something like parable.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Nine loosely connected, hypnotic stories about memory and desire showcase one of fiction's bright new voices.


In the Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author Johanna Skibsrud’s new book, nine loosely connected and hypnotic stories introduce an unforgettable cast of characters. A young maid at a hotel in France encounters a man who asks to paint her portrait, only later discovering that the man is someone other than who she thinks. A divorced father, fearing estrangement from his thirteen-year-old daughter, allows her to take the wheel of his car, realizing too late that he’s made a grave mistake. A Canadian girl and her French host stumble on the one story that transcends their language barrier. Youth confronted with the mutterings of old age, restlessness bounded by the muddy confines of a backyard garden, callow hope coming up against the exigencies of everyday life—these are life-defining moments that weave throughout the everyday lives of the remarkable characters in this book. Time and again they find themselves confronted with what they didn’t know they didn’t know, at the exact point of intersection between impossibility and desire. In This Will Be Difficult to Explain Skibsrud has created a series of masterful, perceptive tales.
 

About Johanna Skibsrud

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Johanna Skibsrud is the author of two collections of poetry. The Sentimentalists, her first novel, won the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.
 
Published April 9, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 177 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for This Will Be Difficult to Explain
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Jessica Loudis on May 18 2012

Skibsrud’s narrators, whether quiet, tormented men or quiet, somewhat credulous women, tend to be as undefined as their settings. Her strongest stories seize on this ambiguity, transforming into something like parable.

Read Full Review of This Will Be Difficult to Exp... | See more reviews from NY Times

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Shawn Syms on Oct 07 2011

Such colourful variety enlivens the book, enhancing the power of the recurring motifs that drive This Will Be Difficult to Explain and Other Stories. Despite some dry moments, ultimately the collection is an effective meditation on how to exist in a world full of other people...

Read Full Review of This Will Be Difficult to Exp... | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for This Will Be Difficult to Explain
35%

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