Author(s): Rivka Galchen
A short-story collection from one of America's brightest young talents. In one of these intensely imaginative stories a young woman's furniture walks out on her. In another, the narrator feels compelled to deliver a takeout order that has incorrectly been phoned in to her. In a third, the petty details of a property transaction illuminate the complicated dependences and loves of a family. Following spiralling paths towards utterly logical, entirely absurd conclusions, Galchen's creations occupy a dreamlike dimension, where time is fluid and identities are best defined by the qualities they lack. The tales in this groundbreaking collection are secretly in conversation with canonical stories, allowing the reader the pleasure of discovering familiar favourites in new guises. Here 'The Lost Order' covertly recapitulates James Thurber's 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty', while 'The Region of Unlikeness' playfully mirrors Jorge Luis Borges's 'The Aleph'. By turns realistic, fantastical and lyrical, all these marvellously uneasy stories share a deeply emotional core and are written in dryly witty, pitch-perfect prose.
Whether exploring the tensions in a mother-daughter relationship or the finer points of time travel, Galchen is a writer of eye-opening ingenuity.
Rivka Galchen grew up in Oklahoma, the child of Israeli immigrants. She received her MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, having spent a year in South America working on public health issues. Her fiction and essays have appeared The Believer, Harper's, The New Yorker, Scientific American and The New York Times. Her first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, was published in 2008 and in 2010 she was named by The New Yorker as one of the top twenty American authors under the age of forty.