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If I Would Leave Myself Behind Paperback – 17 Jun 2014

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Product Description


"This collection of quick fiction is like a playlist of enthralling songs with every one a smash hit. The works share their author's gifts for distilled melodies and methods of great persuasion, for elegance of line, for the poignant or expectant detail, for a recognition of the sweet or funny or sexy or sad facets of lives unfolding. Here are blueberry scones, tattoos that say "Nothing," the scent of morning toast and the derived identities that might attend a bridesmaid, a stricken daughter, lovers as hunter or prey. But the stories do more. The young women narrators who talk us through these living moments seem often to be courting or rejecting mates, but they are driven by deeper, more mysterious impulses, for meanings and answers to our deepest questions."
-- James Robison, author of "The Illustrator"
"I can't explain the alchemy at work in a Lauren Becker story. Is it her voice, so real and immediate, so smooth in its resident sentences? Or is it something else--what happens beneath the accessible surface: how we might come to see we're not reading; we're being read? I've got no answers. But I'm ready to tell you this: no one at work in American fiction is doing what Becker does."
-- Scott Garson, author of "Is That You, John Wayne?"
"I've been reading Lauren Becker's stories for years and couldn't be happier to have them all collected in one place. Her stories inspire me to write, which is the highest compliment I can give to any writer."
-- Mary Miller, author of "The Last Days of California"
"An arresting, instantly recognizable voice. In compressed and furious prose, and with a flasher's urgent vulnerability, Lauren Becker scratches the surface of yearning until it bleeds into stories."
-- Carolyn Cooke, author of "Amor and Psycho"
"I dig bellying up to one of Becker's stories. She knows how to mix that perfect cocktail--equal parts pathos and elegant insight, with just a splash of humor. Fans of Amy Hempel will drin

About the Author

Lauren Becker lives in Austin, Texas. She has worked as an attorney, a health care policy analyst and advocate, a freelance writer, and a disability specialist. Her fiction has appeared at "Tin House online," "Hobart," the "Los Angeles Review," "Pedestal Magazine," "Wigleaf," [PANK], and "NANO Fiction." Her non-fiction has been featured on "The Rumpus" and "The Nervous Breakdown." She is editor of the online literary journal, "Corium Magazine."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lauren Becker's novella & short stories don't pull any punches. 10 Aug. 2015
By Matt Lewis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lauren Becker's novella & short stories don't pull any punches. In fact, they release a barrage of punches, powered by the anger and frustration of years spent in shame, fury, embarrassment, and various other emotional prisons. She has a brilliance for illustrating social problems, particularly in gender roles, without explicitly stating them. Rather, as any good writer should, she simply creates heartbreaking, relatable stories that the reader can infer from subconsciously. It takes real talent to do this, and it still wouldn't be as impactful without the guts and heart that she puts into it. Comparing her work to that of Sylvia Plath or Flannery O'Conner does not seem overly generous, but appropriate. Becker is an exciting, unapologetic, and refreshing voice. Read this book and recommend it to everyone you know.
By Meg Tuite - Published on
Format: Paperback
if i would leave myself behind by Lauren Becker is an astonishing collection of 28 stories and one novella. Get ready to be rearranged and turned inside out. The narrator climbs inside you and messes with your internal organs. My heart will never be the same. Every paragraph is its own brilliant landscape of relationships and how they move or stagnate as the narrator warns pursuers of a future she has already anticipated:

“You will disappoint me. Perhaps you must. I don’t know otherwise and will be confused at the absence of disappointment. You are just another and I am only me. I give you full permission to be everything I don’t want. In fact, I insist. And you don’t need my permission. It will only impel you to do the opposite and the opposite would be distressing to us both.”

“I climb into his beautiful mouth and I am his mouth and his pain and his words.”

But the true relationship is between reader and narrator. Moving from 1st person to 2nd person, Becker never leaves us behind. The door is open and we are in her thoughts, her fears, her hangovers, her refrigerator, on her couch, blasted face-on with her fierce honesty that makes this collection a life-long friend and necessity. It is a book that will never cease to inspire me. If you don’t have this collection, than you are truly missing out on writing at its best.
4.0 out of 5 stars The tiny splendor 22 Aug. 2014
By Melanie Page - Published on
Format: Paperback
Lauren Becker's book is quite tiny. I have to say right away, this is something I really enjoy--that ability to stick a book in my purse or pocket and go. The only thing I love more than the tiny book is the tiny book that comes with the ribbon bookmark attached to the binding (even though it looks like a book with a tampon). Those are the best! Though small, the quality of paper and binding of if i would leave myself behind is excellent. Curbside Splendor makes books that make you happy to hold in your hands.

The content of Becker's book is quite interesting. Rather than a novella + stories, really what we have here might be more aptly called a story + flash fictions. The longest piece, the title story, is 28 miniature pages. Such brevity makes it easy to ingest Becker's book in one sitting, as I did. This is not to say the collection is an easy read. Becker's lines often lean toward the poetic. Example: "We do not know safety. Though I should know, I look to him for guidance. He looks to a bottle and climbs into the bottle and becomes the bottle and comes out another boy." The rhythm and repetition lead the reader to a conclusion, one that need not so many words to reach, but would be boring and cliched if said in straightforward language. I admire this manipulation of simple ideas into lush images.

Full review at Grab the Lapels:
5.0 out of 5 stars An Artful Reawakening of the Short-Story Form 2 Dec. 2014
By Brian A. Ellis - Published on
Format: Paperback
When writing fiction that is empathetic to common, emotionally trodden persons, comparisons to Raymond Carver and Amy Hempel can sometimes be an unfortunate inevitability. However Becker’s pithy, cut-glass prose stylin’ and profilin’ is really all her own, and If I Would Leave Myself Behind is an artful reawakening of the short-story form. Becker owns it. She is a champion for unique characters who hold no title.

Full review at:
5.0 out of 5 stars The prose in this book is like a box cutter etching words into the glass of unwashed window panes 21 Sept. 2014
By D. S. Atkinson - Published on
Format: Paperback
The prose in this book is like a box cutter etching words into the glass of unwashed window panes. I definitely mean that in a good way, a wonderful way. There is a grace there, but it is definitely sharp and cutting. Marvelous voice and images. Evocative and haunting. Strong stuff.
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