SPECTACLE

Stories

Susan Steinberg

An inventive new collection from the author of Hydroplane and The End of Free Love

In these innovative linked stories, women confront loss and grief as they sift through the wreckage of their lives. In the title story, a woman struggles with the death of her friend in a plane crash. A daughter decides whether to take her father off life support in the Pushcart Prize-winning “Cowboys.” And in “Underthings,” when a man hits his girlfriend, she calls it an accident. Spectacle bears witness to alarming and strange incidents: carnival rides and plane crashes,

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An inventive new collection from the author of Hydroplane and The End of Free Love

In these innovative linked stories, women confront loss and grief as they sift through the wreckage of their lives. In the title story, a woman struggles with the death of her friend in a plane crash. A daughter decides whether to take her father off life support in the Pushcart Prize-winning “Cowboys.” And in “Underthings,” when a man hits his girlfriend, she calls it an accident. Spectacle bears witness to alarming and strange incidents: carnival rides and plane crashes, affairs spied through keyholes and amateur porn, vandalism and petty theft. These wounded women stand at the edge of disaster and risk it all to speak their sharpest secrets.

In lean, acrobatic prose, Susan Steinberg subverts assumptions about narrative and challenges conventional gender roles. She delivers insight with a fierce lyric intensity in sentences shorn of excessive sentiment or unnecessary ornament. By fusing style and story, Steinberg amplifies the connections between themes and characters so that each devastating revelation echoes throughout the collection. A vital and turbulent book from a distinctive voice, Spectacle will break your heart, and then, before the last page is turned, will bind it up anew.

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  • Graywolf Press
  • Paperback
  • January 2013
  • 160 Pages
  • 9781555976316

Buy the Book

$14.00

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About Susan Steinberg

Susan Steinberg is the author of the short-story collections Hydroplane and The End of Free Love. She was the 2010 United States Artists Ziporyn Fellow in Literature. Her stories have appeared in McSweeneys, Conjunctions, The Gettysburg Review, American Short Fiction, Boulevard, and The Massachusetts Review, and she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. She has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, the Wurlitzer Foundation, the Blue Mountain Center, Yaddo, and New York University. She has a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She teaches at the University of San Francisco.

Praise

“Experimental but never opaque, Steinberg’s stories seethe with real and imagined menace.”Publishers Weekly

“Reading Susan Steinberg . . . takes you on a mesmerizing, hypnotic journey into a strange, parallel universe of lost souls who live in a frenetic world that is always on the verge of running out of control.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Who has the stunning innovative wit and ferocious style of Susan Steinberg? No one else comes close. These heartful stories carry the energy of light.”Deb Olin Unferth, author of Revolution

"You don’t just read Susan Steinberg’s stories; you hold on tight to her words and go along for the ride."Hartford Courant