With an expert eye, Stone finds valuable insights in the mundane bits and pieces of everyday life and generously shares them...

MY LIFE AS AN ANIMAL

This perceptive collection of connected short stories from an accomplished critic muses on love and loss, home and hope, betrayal and belonging, and the way life and other people continually surprise us.

Treasures lost and found. The ways kinship and kindness can arrive unexpectedly. The bits and baubles—and the people and animals—that pass through our lives, belonging to us and offering us a sense of belonging only for a time. These are among the themes Stone (Laughing in the Dark, 1997, etc.), who won the 1995 National Book Critics Circle citation for excellence in criticism, returns to in her interlinked stories, which, though categorized as fiction, read like memoir. The women who narrate Stone’s stories (or perhaps there is just one) find connection and insight in unlikely places—at yard sales, on walks, even on a bus or at the post office. “At yard sales, you carry away a little of the person, and they are left with your expression as you gazed with admiration at something that was theirs,” the narrator of “Yard Sale” observes, later musing that what she learns from her encounters with people while picking through the possessions they have shed “is how easily I fall in love with strangers and what they are willing to reveal.” Stone’s narrators—whose terrain includes artist colonies, rent-controlled New York apartments, and the exotic Arizona landscape—continually fall in love with strangers, drawn to the musicality in a young mother’s voice (“Kolkata”), say, or the sylphlike look of a shopkeeper (“Ring”). They can coax a smile from the surly (“Hallmark”) or an embrace from—of all people—a postal worker (“Happiness”). They seek a sense of home and a grasp of history, mourn betrayals and losses, welcome attraction, companionship, and the sense of being known.

With an expert eye, Stone finds valuable insights in the mundane bits and pieces of everyday life and generously shares them with her readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8101-3428-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: TriQuarterly/Northwestern Univ.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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