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Virgin: And Other Stories Hardcover – 5 Jan 2017

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (5 Jan. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847085601
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847085603
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 520,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'[A] finely observed debut... There is a touch of dark Southern gothic in Lawson's world, but it is lit by the sheer intelligence of her writing and her x-ray eye for the inner dynamics of relationships' -- Sunday Times

'[Lawson's] prose is delivered with an arch of the eyebrow and an eerie emotional wind whistling through the air. This is a strange and seductive debut collection' -- Times Literary Supplement

'[A] stirring debut collection... Throughout the collection's five stories, Lawson's meticulous prose contrasts with the chaotic lives of her characters... Her many stories unpeel her characters, stripping them down to their feelings... Lawson's precise and often beautiful prose applies to all her characters as they struggle to move on from their pasts' -- Irish Times

'Lawson's stories, at once forensic and mysterious, show how insistent our wants can be and how hard they are to understand' -- New Statesman

'Studded with gems [...] the collection proves Lawson is a young writer to watch, with event its slightest pieces, containing killer lines' -- Literary Review

'[An] assured collection [...] looking at frustration and desire, sexual awakening and confusion with a fresh eye and real insight... Throughout all the stories, disappointment and frustration are rife, the author painting a vivid and believable picture of sexual politics in the 21st century' -- Big Issue

'Like all the best short story writers, April Ayers Lawson works to reverse your expectations from the moment you read the titles of her tales... It all plays out in an unsettling fashion, with a precise use of language that renders what remains unsaid worth the re-reading' --AnOther Magazine

'It's difficult to write about desire in a way which feels wholly new, but that's something author April Ayers Lawson does repeatedly in her debut book... Lawson has a fascinating way of describing the separation between people's intentions and the outcomes of their unwieldy romantic and sexual yearnings. She does this through poignant imagery and layering complicated feelings between her characters... April Ayers Lawson gives such a lively and refreshing slant on the peculiar reality of people's relationships to each other that makes Virgin and Other Stories often surprising, enlightening and a pleasure to read' -- Eric Anderson, Lonesome Reader

'This is a fascinating short story collection that I read all in one sitting... it swept me away' --Rachel Janew, Reader and the Write

'A tremendous intelligence paradoxically amplified by being constrained by intense emotion; April Ayers Lawson is a distinctive, and extraordinary, writer' -- Rivka Galchen

'The stories in Virgin are sensual, and smart, and theologically informed but what I find most captivating is the refined elegance of the prose itself. Like Virginia Woolf and Samantha Harvey, Lawson renders her fine, often painfully precise details in a lyrical, near-transcendent voice. She probes, without fear or inhibition, the deepest psychologies of her characters, holding their feet to the proverbial fire while never losing sight of the fact that what makes them characters are the small, specific moments of embodiment: two naked legs touching, the way a man cuffs his sleeves, an intense sexual violation the little corks marking a vast, submerged net, as Woolf would say. Virgin is an important, immersive work by a young writer on the cusp of what I predict will be a tidal wave career' -- Jamie Quatro

'April Ayers Lawson is one of the boldest young writers alive. Reckless and brave, Virgin and Other Stories swirls with characters who emotionally shape-shift through complicated worlds of sexuality, anticipation, and guilt. This is a book where each action and emotion means three things at once and where characters bleed into one another like strange, cut-up puzzles. It's a book asking you to look into its eyes, even if you know this look will lead only to disaster. But go ahead. Stare even. It's what you want anyway' -- Scott McClanahan

'April Ayers Lawson renders complete portraits of sexual relationships, from start to finish, in a way that is fully honest and brave and even occasionally shameless, in the highest sense. Fearless, bold, these stories are entertaining contemporary classics' -- Amie Barrodale

'The Plimpton Prize winner's debut story collection plunges into a sensual, deeply Christian South, rife with homeschooled kids, virgin brides, and terminally ill potheads. Lawson proves, yet again, that while the red states have a lot of problems, failing to inspire gorgeous, gothic fiction is not among them' -- New York Magazine

'Faltering images, uneasy connections to fundamentalist religious backgrounds, and the gray areas where powerful teenage sexuality meets adult desire in relationships that may or may not constitute abuse - these are among the recurrent subjects handled frankly yet with a delicate touch. Meaty, satisfying tales of a substance that suggests Lawson would make a fine novelist' -- Kirkus

'The five stories in Lawson's superb debut collection explore youth in extremis, through voices at once elegant in their phrasing and unrestrained in their emotion... The precision of Lawson's prose brilliantly contrasts with the messy inner lives of her characters. These are stories that dare to tread where they shouldn't on uncertain ground that feels, in the hands of this talented writer, remarkably concrete' --Publishers Weekly, starred

About the Author

April Ayers Lawson is the recipient of the 2011 George Plimpton Award for Fiction, as well as a 2015 writing fellowship from The Corporation of Yaddo. 'Virgin' was also named a 2011 favourite short story of the year by Flavorwire Magazine and anthologized in The Unprofessionals: New American Writing from the Paris Review (Penguin 2016). Her fiction has appeared in the Norwegian version of Granta, Oxford American, Vice, ZYZZYVA Crazyhorse, and Five Chapters, among others. She has lectured in the Creative Writing Department at Emory University, and is the 2016-2017 Kenan Visiting Writer at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This is her first book.


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14 January 2017
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