Live Stream: Siamak Vossoughi and Jessie van Eerden

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Siamak Vossoughi was born in Tehran, Iran and currently lives in Seattle. His first story collection, Better Than War, received the 2014 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. His stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, and The Rumpus, among other places. 

The fable-like stories in A Sense of the Whole--reminiscent of the best of Kawabata, Hrabal, Lispector, and Kafka--create profound effects on the reader within very short spaces. Small in size, but not in resonance, Siamak Vossoughi's stories feature characters who refuse to believe that we are unconnected, refuse to not aspire to the notion of the human family across all manner of differences. These characters are girls and boys, men and women, Iranians and Americans, all seeking a home for the body and the soul.

"These are moral tales with uncertain answers. One might read them as anecdotal for the Iranian-American experience, but rendered in Vossoughi’s epigrammatic prose they ultimately unfold through the language of the universal. Each lights on a minor encounter—between strangers, neighbors, lovers—and what emerges is the sense that anyone you meet has a story." —The New York Times Book Review

Jessie van Eerden is the author of two previous novels, Glorybound and My Radio Radio, and the portrait essay collection The Long Weeping. She has won numerous prizes, including the Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction and the Foreword Editor’s Choice Fiction Prize. She teaches creative writing at Hollins University. 

Set in small-town West Virginia in the twilight of the eighties, Call It Horses tells the story of three women--niece, aunt, and stowaway--and an improbable road trip. Frankie is an orphan (or a reluctant wife). Mave is an autodidact (or the town pariah). Nan is an artist (or the town whore). Each separately haunted, Frankie, Mave, and Nan--with a hound in tow--set out in an Oldsmobile Royale for Abiquiú and the desert of Georgia O'Keeffe, seeking an escape from everything they've known. Frankie records the journey in letters to her aunt Mave's dead lover, a linguist named Ruth, sketching out her troubled life and her complicated relationship with Mave, who became her guardian when Frankie was orphaned at sixteen. Slowly, one letter at a time, Frankie exposes the ruins of herself and her fellow passengers: things that chase them, that died too soon, that never lived. With lush prose and brutal empathy, Frankie tells Ruth--and herself--the story of liminality experienced by a woman standing just outside of motherhood, fulfillment, and love.

"I know of few writers who write as well as Jessie van Eerden about the sacredness of language, the way it calls forth the world by naming it. Van Eerden doesn’t just write about it; she enacts it formally—the shapeshifting magic of words, the acrobatic possibilities of sentences, the beautiful, yearning, fail and fail better lengths to which we all go to make our minds heard.." -Maud Casey, author of The Man Who Walked Away and The Art of Mystery

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A Sense of the Whole: Stories By Siamak Vossoughi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781949039115
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Orison Books - November 3rd, 2020

Call It Horses By Jessie Van Eerden Cover Image
ISBN: 9781950539253
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Dzanc Books - March 23rd, 2021

SKU: x672389