The woods Stories

Janice Obuchowski, 1976-

Book - 2022

"The Woods explores the lives of people in a small Vermont college town and its surrounding areas-a place at the edge of the bucolic, where the land begins to shift into something untamed. In the tradition of Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, these stories follow people who carry private griefs but search for contentment. As they try to make sense of their worlds, grappling with problems-worried about their careers, their marriages, their children, their ambitions-they also sift through the happiness they have and often find deep solace in the landscape. What do we find in the woods? An uplifting of spirit or a quieting of sorrow. A sense of being haunted by the past. Sometimes, more violent things. Abandoned quarries and feral cats, black bears, brothers caught up in an escalating war. A ghost who wishes to pass on her despair. Monsters who boom with hollow ecstatic laughter. But also songbirds: the hermit thrush and the winter wren. Rushing rivers, glossy with froth. A nineteenth-century inn that's somehow gotten by all these years. And far within, a vegetal twilight and constant dusk that feels outside of time. This remarkable debut illuminates the ways we all carry within ourselves aspects stark, beautiful, wild, and unknowable"--

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1st Floor FICTION/Obuchows Janice Due Mar 9, 2024
Short stories
Iowa City : University of Iowa Press [2022]
Main Author
Janice Obuchowski, 1976- (author)
Item Description
Short stories.
Physical Description
195 pages ; 21 cm
John Simmons Short Fiction Award, 2022.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Obuchowski's lucid debut collection digs into the isolation and complexities of her characters' inner worlds. In "The Cat," a lonely college professor's discontent in her secluded college town comes into focus when a feral cat starts paying her visits, and all she can think about is how she'd rather have a dog. "The Chair" follows an elderly woman tending to her husband while he is on bed rest from a broken ankle, during which she wrestles with feelings of anticipated loss and grief over a future without him. "Mountain Shade" explores bereavement as a middle-aged college professor copes with self-pity and culpability in the aftermath of her husband's sudden death. In "Potions," a woman spends the day playing with her six-year-old and realizes her husband might be having an affair. "Self-Preservation" involves a couple who move to Vermont from Southern California after the loss of their child; the grieving mother finds she cannot start a new life before allowing herself to mourn. Though the stories can feel a bit drawn out, there are evocative interior descriptions and subtle revelations about the characters' relationships to place. Obuchowski's smart and low-key stories are an acquired taste, but they just may be the thing for the right patient reader. (Nov.)

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