University of Michigan Press

Michigan Literary Fiction Awards

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Go

Browse Books in Series:

Michigan Literary Fiction Awards

1

Results 1-2 of 2

:
restricted access This search result is for a Book

Good for the Jews

Debra Spark

". . . a smart, sprightly, sex-drenched, and neatly plotted novel . . ." ---Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio and the Chicago Tribune "Spark is at her sly, funny, and cutting best in her third novel, a clever and affecting variation on the biblical story of Esther." ---Booklist "Spark's prose is tight, funny, insightful and occasionally heartbreaking as it probes the current education system, the arts and society's ills." ---Publishers Weekly Good for the Jews is a smart, funny, sexy novel set in Madison, Wisconsin, during the Bush administration. Part mystery and part stranger-comes-to town story, Good for the Jews is loosely based on the biblical book of Esther. Like Esther, Debra Spark's characters deal with anti-Semitism and the way that powerful men---and the women who love them---negotiate bureaucracies. At the core of the story of right and wrong are young, attractive Ellen Hirschorn and her older cousin Mose, a high school teacher who thinks he knows, in fact, what is "good for the Jews"---and for Ellen, too. Their stories intertwine with those of the school superintendent, his ex-wife and son, and a new principal. Workplace treachery, the bonds of family, coming of age, and romantic relationships all take center stage as the characters negotiate the fallout from a puzzling fire. Spark's evocative writing style and sharp, understanding treatment of her diverse characters draw the reader into this surprising page-turner, a finalist for the 2009 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. Debra Spark is the author of two previous novels, The Ghost of Bridgetown and Coconuts for the Saint, as well as Curious Attractions: Essays on Fiction Writing. She's been a fellow at Radcliffe College's Bunting Institute and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications including Food and Wine, Esquire, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yankee. She is a professor at Colby College and teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She lives with her husband and son in North Yarmouth, Maine.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

A Watch of Nightingales

Liza Wieland

A modest, quiet woman, Mara Raynor never dreamed she'd one day find herself in charge of the small private school in Washington, D.C., where for many years she taught music and choir. But after the unexpected death of her husband, the school's headmaster, Mara finds herself thrust into the public eye, burdened not just with the responsibilities of acting headmaster---a role she never wanted---but also with a potentially explosive political and religious controversy that tests parents' and school administrators' spirit of tolerance. When a Sikh student is caught wearing a ceremonial knife on school grounds, fear spreads among parents and the school board. Coming at the same moment as the disappearance of Mara's teenage daughter, the controversy quickly assumes a far more personal nature. Not just any student, the Sikh boy is both the son of a woman with whom Mara shares a complicated past and---as Mara soon discovers---her own daughter's boyfriend. As it moves back and forth in time between the school in contemporary Washington and a girls' boarding school in the British countryside in 1977, A Watch of Nightingales weaves a rich and textured exploration of fear and remorse, the mysteries of love, and the complicated tensions that ring down the generations from parent to child. "Conjuring the entwined lives of teachers and students in two schools (and two generations) on either side of the Atlantic, A Watch of Nightingales stands alongside The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Goodbye, Mr Chips as a testament to the responsibilities, rewards, and risks of teaching. This is a book of luminous insight and quiet but telling wisdom, about youth and maturity and the bridge of loss and remorse that connects them. Liza Wieland's is a mature and deeply moving vision, conveyed in prose that sings as sure and clear as the birds of her title." ---Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl Praise for Liza Wieland: "[T]here is a nobility and boldness to her characters that lends them a heroism missing from much modern fiction and makes these stories wholly absorbing adventures of the heart." ---Ron Hansen, author of Exiles: A Novel "Liza Wieland understands down to the bone how loneliness and love compel her characters to make their impossible choices. Not only does she have a searing intelligence and wisdom, her prose is by turns graceful and astonishing." ---Jane Hamilton, author of A Map of the World Liza Wieland is the author of four previous works of fiction: The Names of the Lost; Discovering America; You Can Sleep While I Drive; and Bombshell, as well as a volume of poems, Near Alcatraz. Her work has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, and the North Carolina Arts Council. She teaches creative writing and literature at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

1

Results 1-2 of 2

:

Return to Browse All Series on Project MUSE

Series

Michigan Literary Fiction Awards

Content Type

  • (2)

Access

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