The Tao of Humiliation (American Readers Series)

By Lee Upton

A Kirkus Reviews most sensible publication of 2014

Best New Fiction of may perhaps 2014, Typographical Era

Alternately chilling, humorous, devastating, and hopeful, those 17 tales introduce us to a theater critic who lands up in a sizzling bathtub with the actress he repeatedly savages in reports; a biographer who struggles to find why a novelist stopped writing; a scholar who contends together with her predatory professor; and the startling state of affairs of the final satyr assembly his final woman.

Writer-in-residence and a professor of English at Lafayette university, Lee Upton is writer of twelve books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

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You’re right,” he spoke back. “Everyone’s beginning to glance unusually stable. ” He winked at Julia, and he or she felt herself blush. around the corridor Katie Gibbs, her black costume slightly protecting her thighs, used to be chatting with 3 males, one in all whom was once taking a look over Katie’s head at Julia. What may well Katie be reporting? Didn’t somebody imagine she’d ever go back? She had each correct to come back. Anise used to be her buddy. although Anise was once nowhere to be visible. finally, at her personal marriage ceremony Anise had larger activities than to hover over a chum. now not that Julia had to be hovered over. And Anise wasn’t a hoverer besides. Anise permitted issues. She made every little thing common, simply because she was once general. A aid the best way she used to be so common. as though you may turn into basic simply by status subsequent to her. however it was once peculiar, what she used to be doing with stones. Julia was once wondering going for a stroll at the grounds of the corridor whilst a movement of whiteness rushed towards her. It was once Anise, who laughed and grabbed Julia’s arm and cried, “Isn’t this enjoyable? I must have gotten married decades in the past! You too, Julia! ” yet that’s now not what Julia heard her pal say. as an alternative, she heard: “Everyone knew. Isn’t it humorous? many years in the past. bad you, Julia! ” Julia’s throat closed as Anise stored on. “Do you keep in mind that time we jumped into that swimming pool? ” while Julia wasn’t in a position to reply, Anise acknowledged, “Why did we do this? Oh, I bear in mind. We have been possessed. ” they'd jumped into an unattended inn pool on a college day trip to the country capitol. Anise lied and informed the lecturers they fell in. “We simply sought after attention,” Anise acknowledged. “We didn’t get any. ” She patted the tummy of her marriage ceremony dress. “I suppose like an onion during this. ” To Anise she didn’t seem like an onion in any respect, yet as though she were swallowed by way of an enormous white predator that left merely her head and wrists seen until eventually she was once virtually fullyyt digested. Julia acknowledged, “Your mom instructed me you made—stones. ” “She informed you? Oh. i will think what she instructed you. ” “She didn’t inform me a lot, particularly. ” “Stones. It can’t sound fascinating. ” “I’m very . ” “It’s now not loads approximately what they appear to be. It’s how they consider should you contact them. i admire the best way the clay responds. i will exit within the morning and they’re rainy. Or in the summertime within the afternoon they’re hot, baked. Plus, they don’t do something. yet sit down there and take the warmth. i love that. At any cost, i locate that sort of fantastic. ” “Could i purchase one? ” “I’ll provide you with one. They’re nice to carry. you recognize what my mom says approximately my stones? She says, ‘I’ll offer you this. they appear genuine. yet honey, they’re simply faux stones. ’” The sounds from the marriage reception light in the back of Julia. The shadows of pines mingled. Birches from fifteen years in the past leaned in upon each other. The earth used to be brittle with a lingering frost crust. Julia must be cautious to prevent the thawed spots the place her heels may sink. She stepped right into a patch of darkness, regretting that she hadn’t troubled to come to the cloak room for her coat. The wind opposed to her face, the odor of the pines, the gravel lower than her heels—all remained achingly commonly used.

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