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You Should Pity Us Instead: Stories
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Sarabande Books 2016
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"From the absurdly comic to the acutely moving"—eleven fearless stories of love, friendship, faith and family under siege (The New York Times Book Review).

Stretching from 19th century Ellis Island to 21st century Gaza and suburban Ohio,
"these 11 stories, each ambitious in scope, drop us into one nerve-racking situation after another . . . inhabiting a wide range of voices" (The San Francisco Chronicle).

In "Coyote" a mother's need to protect her toddler spirals into a dangerous obsession. "Prisoners Do" follows two married doctors who find temporary escape in a discomforting affair. An Israeli woman risks more than she imagines when she attempts to reclaim her captive child from militants in "All the Sons of Cain." "Half-Life" uncovers the devastating secret behind a nanny's chosen profession; in "An Uncontaminated Soul" a haunted and lonely cat lady's impulsive rescue of two more kittens proves to be a heartbreaking turning point; and in the title story, an atheist family from Berkley relocates to the conservative Midwest to confront the consequences and limits of their beliefs.

"Brave, essential, thrilling, each story in You Should Pity UsInstead takes us to those places we've never dared visit before" (Ben Stroud). "They detonate on target, literary grenades of resounding impact . . . bursting with startling insights, stabbing dialogue, ambushing metaphor, and stunning moments of dissonance" (Booklist).
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/18/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781941411209
ASIN:
B01912KP70
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APA Citation (style guide)

Amy Gustine. (2016). You Should Pity Us Instead: Stories. Sarabande Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Amy Gustine. 2016. You Should Pity Us Instead: Stories. Sarabande Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Amy Gustine, You Should Pity Us Instead: Stories. Sarabande Books, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Amy Gustine. You Should Pity Us Instead: Stories. Sarabande Books, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Amy Gustine: Amy Gustine's short fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, North American Review, Black Warrior Review, The Massachusetts Review, and many others. She lives in Ohio.

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"Amy Gustine's You Should Pity Us Instead is a devastating, funny, and astonishingly frank collection of stories. Gustine can be brutally honest about the murky calculations, secret dreams and suppressed malice to which most of us never admit, not even to ourselves."—Karen Russell

"You Should Pity Us Instead is an unbroken spell from first story to last, despite the enormous range of subjects and landscapes, sufferings and joys it explores."—Laura Kasischke

"Amy Gustine's stories cross impossible borders both physical and moral: a mother looking for her kidnapped son sneaks into Gaza, an Ellis Island inspector mourning his lost love plays God at the boundary between old world and new. Brave, essential, thrilling, each story in You Should Pity Us Instead takes us to those places we've never dared visit before."—Ben Stroud

You Should Pity Us Instead explores some of our toughest dilemmas: the cost of Middle East...

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title
You Should Pity Us Instead
fullDescription
"From the absurdly comic to the acutely moving"—eleven fearless stories of love, friendship, faith and family under siege (The New York Times Book Review).

Stretching from 19th century Ellis Island to 21st century Gaza and suburban Ohio,
"these 11 stories, each ambitious in scope, drop us into one nerve-racking situation after another . . . inhabiting a wide range of voices" (The San Francisco Chronicle).

In "Coyote" a mother's need to protect her toddler spirals into a dangerous obsession. "Prisoners Do" follows two married doctors who find temporary escape in a discomforting affair. An Israeli woman risks more than she imagines when she attempts to reclaim her captive child from militants in "All the Sons of Cain." "Half-Life" uncovers the devastating secret behind a nanny's chosen profession; in "An Uncontaminated Soul" a haunted and lonely cat lady's impulsive rescue of two more kittens proves to be a heartbreaking turning point; and in the title story, an atheist family from Berkley relocates to the conservative Midwest to confront the consequences and limits of their beliefs.

"Brave, essential, thrilling, each story in You Should Pity UsInstead takes us to those places we've never dared visit before" (Ben Stroud). "They detonate on target, literary grenades of resounding impact . . . bursting with startling insights, stabbing dialogue, ambushing metaphor, and stunning moments of dissonance" (Booklist).
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      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from October 5, 2015
        In this dazzling debut collection, Gustine shows tremendous range, empathy, and spark. In the excellent title story, Simon and Molly move back to Ohio after he has finished his degree at UC Berkeley. Molly is astounded that so many people in Ohio “still believed in God.” There are various faiths, yes, but as she notes, “diversity provided no cover”: the problem is that Simon, a philosopher, has written a book on atheism, and the couple’s two elementary school age daughters suffer from the stigma of having atheist parents. In “Prisoners Do,” Mike, a radiologist, is sleeping with a colleague from the hospital while his wife, Fawn, sits on the couch at home, incapacitated after a stroke. Everyone’s in an impossible position, and yet, in that stasis, they also provide one another with a kind of comfort. In “Coyote,” Cory is the mother of a toddler whose paranoia about keeping her son safe veers into obsession. Sarah, the 22-year-old babysitter in “Half-Life,” was taken away from her own mother as a child and placed in foster care. She’s now the nanny (intentionally) for the daughter of the judge who ruled for the circumstances of her upbringing, all of which raises complicated questions about responsibility, irresponsibility, and blame. Gustine’s language is uniformly remarkable for its clarity and forthrightness.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from October 15, 2015
        Gustine's debut collection examines the compelling lives and struggles of people we might think of as ordinary and the pain that can come from simply trying to make it through life. It might be easy to mistake these stories, with their focus on the familiar, for quiet ones. The emphasis is largely on emotion and situation rather than drama, but this doesn't detract from their power. In fact, the intensity of people we might pass on the street every day--a mother whose baby will not stop crying or a father driving across the country to clean out his dead daughter's apartment--makes this collection all the more powerful. In "An Uncontaminated Soul," for example, Gustine starts with a familiar picture of a woman living alone with more than 50 cats, but rather than creating a cliche, she instead makes Lavinia sympathetic, deep, and heartbreaking--not pitiful at all. The struggle mothers face in trying to protect their children is one theme that runs throughout this collection, and it links an Israeli woman whose adult son has been kidnapped by Hamas to an Ohio woman conducting nightly vigils in her backyard, armed with a child's baseball bat against encroaching coyotes. The weakest moments come in stories that prioritize suspense, as in "Goldene Medene," in which a doctor inspects incoming immigrants at Ellis Island. He handles infectious patients with a distracted air and imagines abusing his power to take advantage of a vulnerable woman in a way that feels tired. There is no easy resolution to be found in this collection, and the fact that life will, and indeed must, go on is both a blessing and a burden for the characters. Gustine's stories give the impression that in every life there is a story worth telling, of triumph and of pain, if only we take the time to look.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from December 15, 2015
        Gustine packs her short stories tightly, pitches them high and far, and they detonate on target, literary grenades of resounding impact. The subjects she explores are also explosive: bad mothers, rotten marriages, religious conflicts, immigration, our uneasy relationship with other species, terrible maladies, death. And yet Gustine is funny. Pithily and wryly so. The fraught situations she thinks up are trenchantly and absurdly human, her flailing characters irresistible. An Israeli woman whose son is being held hostage slips into Gaza to search for him and finds herself drawn into the struggles of a Palestinian family. Stepping back a century, Gustine portrays a jilted and bitter doctor inspecting weary immigrants at Ellis Island. In the title story, a finely textured miniature of American family and community life, atheist parents struggle with disapproving neighbors and their young daughters' curiosity about their friends' beliefs. Gustine's tales are bursting with startling insights, stabbing dialogue, ambushing metaphors, and stunning moments of dissonance. Her first collection aligns her with such short story stars as Joy Williams, Antonya Nelson, and Bonnie Jo Campbell.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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tableOfContents

All the Sons of Cain
Layers Of Earth
Unattended
You Should Pity Us Instead
An Uncontaminated Soul
Prisoners Do
Coyote
Lawan
Goldene Medene
The River Warta
When We're Innocent
Half-Life