Iowa Short Fiction Award

John Smith, Will Wordsworth

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Go

Browse Books in Series:

Iowa Short Fiction Award

previous PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT next

Results 21-30 of 37

:
:
Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Of This New World

Allegra Hyde

Of This New World offers a menagerie of utopias: real, imagined, and lost. Starting with the Garden of Eden and ending in a Mars colony, the stories wrestle with conflicts of idealism and practicality, communal ambition and individual kink. Stories jump between genres—from historical fiction to science fiction, realism to fabulism—but all ask that fundamental human question: is paradise really so impossible?

Over the course of twelve stories, Hyde writes with a mix of lyricism, humor, and masterful detail. A group of environmental missionaries seeks to start an ideal eco-society on an island in The Bahamas, only to unwittingly tyrannize the local inhabitants. The neglected daughter of a floundering hippie commune must adjust to conventional life with her un-groovy grandmother. Haunted by her years at a collegiate idyll, a young woman eulogizes a friendship. After indenturing his only son to the Shakers, an antebellum vegan turns to Louisa May Alcott’s famous family for help. And in the final story, a former drug addict chases a second chance at life in a government-sponsored space population program. An unmissable debut, the collection charts the worlds born in our dreams and bred in hope. 
 

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

One Dog Happy


In this award-winning debut collection, Molly McNett couples laugh-out-loud dialogue and wry observation reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor with disquieting strains of dashed hope, troubled sexuality, and disillusionment.

The adults in these stories can seem as hapless and helpless as the younger characters. Two neglected daughters use the language of clothes to cope with their parents’ divorce and their father’s mail-order bride. A young girl’s bizarre sexual fantasies help her gain control over the chaos of her family life. A gang of teenagers accuse a farmer of bestiality. A divorced father tries to create a pony-filled world that might appeal to his daughters. In the title story, Mr. Bob, the minister’s housesitter, loses a dog but finds someone to believe in. And in “Helping,” the darkest story in this amazing collection, Ruthie’s anger conquers her religious faith when she takes care of a severely disabled child.

We meet McNett’s endearing, often foolish characters at a point when their minds are open to manipulation by the people and events around them, and the conclusions they draw are heartbreaking: I am not allowed weakness; life treats people unequally; perhaps there is no God. Yet throughout they find quiet moments of possibility, courage, and a return to faith and comfort.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Outside Is the Ocean

Matthew Lansburgh

Three days after her twentieth birthday, a young woman who grew up in Germany during World War II crosses the Atlantic to start a new life. Outside Is the Ocean traces Heike’s struggle to find love and happiness in America. After two marriages and a troubled relationship with her son, Heike adopts a disabled child from Russia, a strong-willed girl named Galina, who Heike hopes will give her the affection and companionship she craves. As Galina grows up, Heike’s grasp on reality frays, and she writes a series of letters to the son she thinks has abandoned her forever. It isn’t until Heike’s death that her son finds these letters and realizes how skewed his mother’s perceptions actually were.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Permanent Visitors

Settled amid the seasonal amusements and condominium-lined beaches of the Florida coast, the characters who inhabit Kevin Moffett’s award-winning stories reach out of their lives to find that something unexpected and mysterious has replaced what used to be familiar.Some are stalled in the present, alone or lonely, bemused by mortality and disappointment. Some move toward the future heartened by what they learn from those around them--a tattoo artist, an invented medicine man, zoo animals, strangers, fellow outsiders. Deftly rendered, these stories abound with oddness and grace.In “Tattooizm,” included in The Best American Short Stories 2006, a young woman struggles with a promise that her boyfriend is determined to make her keep. In the Nelson Algren Award–winning “Space,” a reluctantly undertaken errand forces a young man to finally confront the death of his mother. And in “The Medicine Man,” hailed by the Times (U.K.) as “perfectly pitched and perfectly written,” a man recounts his manic attachment to his sister.Moffett’s closely observed stories are candid and complex, funny and moving. The world of Permanent Visitors is an idiosyncratic and generous one, its inhabitants searching for constancy in a place crowded with contradiction.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Power Ballads

Will Boast

Real musicians don’t sign autographs, date models, or fly in private jets. They spend their lives in practice rooms and basement clubs or toiling in the obscurity of coffee-shop gigs, casino jobs, and the European festival circuit. The ten linked stories in Power Ballads are devoted to this unheard virtuoso: the working musician.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Pulp and Paper

Josh Rolnick

“I glanced out the window as my train pulled into the station and saw the girl who killed my son.” So begins Josh Rolnick’s powerful debut collection of eight stories, which utilizes a richly focused narrative style accenting the unavoidable tragedies of life while revealing the grace and dignity with which people learn to deal with them. The stories—four set in New Jersey and four in New York—span the wide geographic tapestry of the area and demonstrate the interconnectedness of both the neighboring states and the residents who inhabit them.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Safe as Houses

Marie-Helene Bertino

Safe as Houses, the debut story collection of Marie-Helene Bertino, proves that not all homes are shelters. The titular story revolves around an aging English professor who, mourning the loss of his wife, robs other people's homes of their sentimental knick-knacks. In "Free Ham," a young dropout wins a ham after her house burns down and refuses to accept it. “Has my ham done anything wrong?” she asks when the grocery store manager demands that she claim it.
 
In "Carry Me Home, Sisters of Saint Joseph," a failed commercial writer moves into the basement of a convent and inadvertently discovers the secrets of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. A girl, hoping to talk her brother out of enlisting in the army, brings Bob Dylan home for Thanksgiving dinner in the quiet, dreamy "North Of." In “The Idea of Marcel,” Emily, a conservative, elegant girl, has dinner with the idea of her ex-boyfriend, Marcel. In a night filled with baffling coincidences, including Marcel having dinner with his idea of Emily, she wonders why we tend to be more in love with ideas than with reality. In and out of the rooms of these gritty, whimsical stories roam troubled, funny people struggling to reconcile their circumstances to some kind of American Ideal and failing, over and over. 
 
The stories of Safe as Houses are magical and original and help answer such universal and existential questions as: How far will we go to stay loyal to our friends? Can we love a man even though he is inches shorter than our ideal? Why doesn’t Bob Dylan ever have his own smokes? And are there patron saints for everything, even lost socks and bad movies?
 

All homes are not shelters. But then again, some are. Welcome to the home of Marie-Helene Bertino. 

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Shiny Objects

A successful professional painter and art instructor for years, Benedict was dissatisfied that she could paint petal-perfect flowers and expensive portraits of wealthy clients, but could not capture the light on the garden at dusk or the tender hands and faces of her own children.  Seven years ago she walked into a poetry workshop and found "the window I needed for my imagination."  She never painted another painting, and has never stopped writing.  She got her BA in English and her MFA in writing at Goddard College, taught workshops, won scholarships, and recieved grants and awards for her fiction.  her stories have appeared in INTRO and fiction international, and the title story in this award-winning collection was published as an Atlantic Monthly First.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Tell Everyone I Said Hi

Chad Simpson

The world of Tell Everyone I Said Hi is geographically small but far from provincial in its portrayal of emotionally complicated lives. With all the heartbreaking earnestness of a Wilco song, these eighteen stories by Chad Simpson roam the small-town playgrounds, blue-collar neighborhoods, and rural highways of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky to find people who’ve lost someone or something they love and have not yet found ways to move forward.
 
Simpson’s remarkable voice masterfully moves between male and female and adolescent and adult characters. He embraces their helplessness and shares their sad, strange, and sometimes creepy slices of life with grace, humor, and mounds of empathy. In “Peloma,” a steelworker grapples with his preteen daughter’s feeble suicide attempts while the aftermath of his wife’s death and the politics of factory life vie to hem him in.  The narrator of “Fostering” struggles to determine the ramifications of his foster child’s past now that he and his wife are expecting their first biological child. In just two pages, “Let x” negotiates the yearnings and regrets of childhood through mathematical variables and the summertime interactions of two fifth-graders.
 

Poignant, fresh, and convincing, these are stories of women who smell of hairspray and beer and of landscapers who worry about their livers, of flooded basements and loud trucks, of bad exes and horrible jobs, of people who remain loyal to sports teams that always lose. Displaced by circumstances both in and out of their control, the characters who populate Tell Everyone I Said Hi are lost in their own surroundings, thwarted by misguided aspirations and long-buried disappointments, but fully open to the possibility that they will again find their way.  

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Thank You for Being Concerned and Sensitive

Jim Henry

Jim Henry's stories defy convention. There are no easy answers, no quick fixes. Although the plots vary—from a corpse returning to visit his family weeks after his burial, to the musings of a congressman grappling with the weight of history, to a wealthy family's elaborate plot to cheer their mysteriously wounded mother—all express a sense of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the absurd in the everyday.

Henry's characters are for the most part misfits, outsiders looking in on a world whose seemingly natural order is turned upside down. In a throw-away culture obsessed with sex and drugs, money and God, they struggle to connect with what is real while trying to convince themselves that anything is. And yet in the midst of their existential searching there remains always Henry's quirky sense of humor. As one character says, “Anything is possible,” and in this collection anything and everything happens.

previous PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT next

Results 21-30 of 37

:
:

Return to Browse All Series on Project MUSE

Series

Iowa Short Fiction Award

Content Type

  • (37)

Access

  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access