Cover

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Half Title, Award Info, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Earlier versions of some stories appeared in the following publications: “Crazy for You” in Confrontation, “The Fourth Fattest Girl at Cutting Horse Ranch” in Third Coast, “The Common Application with Supplement” in Alaska Quarterly Review, “A Real Marriage” in Southern Review, “The Next Thing that Happens” in Washington Square, ...

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Crazy for You

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pp. 1-13

That summer, while Emily’s mom painted pictures of Iranian militiamen in the garage, we watched Sarah Morrison have sex. Sarah rented the casita behind the Freedman’s pool shed, a tiny stucco building with just enough room for a bed and desk—a little alcove in the corner with a hot plate and a mini-fridge. ...

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The Fourth Fattest Girl at Cutting Horse Ranch

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pp. 14-29

We’ve been waiting thirty minutes for Jeanine to get back from the airport and take us on our morning run when the intake van pulls into the gravel lot in front of the big house, lighting the stucco white and red. Jeanine, a triathlete, is the only nurse fast enough to keep up with the anorexics. ...

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Common Application with Supplement

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pp. 30-43

1) Concentration interest (first choice): physics

Concentration interest (second choice): applied mathematics

Parents marital status (relative to each other): never married ...

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What Counts as Love

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pp. 44-57

When the swelling went down, and she could almost see straight again, Karleen got a job as a carpenter’s assistant at Mint Hill Construction, sweeping up debris and helping the skilled laborers with whatever they needed. The job site in east Charlotte was a midrange condo development sandwiched ...

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A Real Marriage

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pp. 58-69

She met Amir in May at the Friendly Market convenience store, where he worked and where she was buying Miller Lite with her roommates, and by July she asked him to marry her. His travel visa had expired two years before, and now INS wanted to send him back to Morocco. ...

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The Next Thing That Happens

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pp. 70-79

After dinner, my mom pulled me into her bedroom, shut the door, and sat on the edge of the king-sized bed with her hands in her lap, fidgeting. I leaned back against the cool of the comforter and told her, okay, I was listening. ...

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A New Life

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pp. 80-92

The girl, Hannah, was three and a half weeks old, two months premature, and small for a newborn. It was November but warm out that weekend, and the breeze from the open windows filled the house with the smell of wet soil and dead leaves. Nathan was down the hall, asleep in their bedroom, ...

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The House Always Wins

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pp. 93-106

The third time they slept together, they woke to the sound of sirens. They were at Ethan’s apartment, one of six units in a skinny modern building on the grounds of the Gibson Day School, where he had recently taken a job as a “visiting poet,” which had turned out to mean “low-paid teacher.” ...

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Kindness

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pp. 107-125

She’s in Phoenix, at a café/gift shop inside the Greyhound Station, where she is supposed to be meeting her daughter who is late or maybe not coming or possibly dead. Who can say? The station is large and echoing with high ceilings lined with exposed beams and giant air ducts ...