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Quirks of fate highlight this debut short story collection whose characters are women of dazzling ironies and introspections, always in motion and trusting in love—even when it remains out of reach. Two friends plan a visit to Nantucket, but find themselves on a different island completely, where the men they have loved are lined up on the beach in chronological order; a grieving mother and daughter encounter naked strangers in unexpected places en route to the Dordogne River; a restless New York artist travels to Madrid to find a European lover, only to fall for another persnickety New Yorker. From the mysterious island in the Atlantic to the crowded highways of Los Angeles and from the Charles Bridge in Prague to the temples of Luxor and the most remote regions of the Myanmar peninsula, the worlds invented here are inspiring and unique, original in the manner through which the physical landscape never fails to inform the emotional one.
About the Author
Stacy Bierlein is a founding editor of Other Voices Books and cocreator of the Morgan Street International Novel Series. She is the editor of the award-winning anthology A Stranger Among Us: Stories of Cross Cultural Collision and Connection and coeditor of Men Undressed: Female Writers and the Male Sexual Experience. She lives in Los Angeles.
Praise for A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends…
“Bierlein’s stories are beautifully made, constantly surprising, and utterly believable. She tightropes an enviable line between making unknown worlds utterly familar, and turning the known world into something tantilizingly exotic, undeniably fresh. If you are lucky, her narrators will remind you of the best friends you've ever had, sharp-edged steely-eyed women with weaknesses for all of the best things in life. These are stories that will make you laugh, and long for, and challenge, and think.” —Pam Houston, author, Contents May Have Shifted, Cowboys Are My Weakness, and Sight Hound
“Bierlein’s work is like a glass of water with cucumber slices in it. What I mean is that the vitality in her prose is absolutely refreshing. Things you don’t expect suddenly make complete sense.” —Aimee Bender, author, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and Willful Creatures
“Intoxicates like the best doomed love affairs. Bierlein possesses the sober precision of a clairvoyant who knows better, but who can’t resist the ride.” —Gina Frangello, author, My Sister’s Continent and Slut Lullabies
“Bierlein’s short fiction is elegant, sensuous, and tough too. In addition to story, there’s rhythm here—heart and depth and precision. Page after page I am struck by their lyricism and urgency.” —Lisa Glatt, author, A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That and The Apple’s Bruise
“Bierlein’s sentences strut across the page in the highest of heels. The reader cannot help but follow them into a world of craving, wit, and the unexpectedness of human connection—sometimes delightful, sometimes searing, always sexy.” —Marisa Matarazzo, author, Drenched: Stories of Love and Other Deliriums
“Women and men are still islands, and neither sexual liberation nor feminism have brought the sexes any closer to understanding each other or living together in something approaching harmony. Bierlein’s heroines show us that the most dangerous act of all is to love and that it is still impossible to stop dreaming about the one soul that will unlock the secret to who we were meant to be.” —Stefan Kiesbye, author, Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone
"Stellar collection of heady and affecting stories. Bierlein's characters test the parameters of love and trust in lust while cherishing friendship above all. With their sudden slicing dives through bright, scintillating surfaces into the cold darkness of pain and fear, Bierlein's dagger-sharp, witty, authentic stories reveal what life is like now for women torn between anything goes and choices of a lifetime." —Donna Seaman, Booklist