The ten stories in this debut collection examine the perils of love and what it means to live during an era when people will offer themselves, almost unthinkingly, to strangers. Risks and repercussions are never fully weighed. People leap and almost always land on rocky ground. May-December romances flourish in these stories, as do self-doubt and, in most cases, serious regret. Mysterious, dangerous benefactors, dead and living artists, movie stars and college professors, plagiarists, and distinguished foreign novelists are among the many different characters. No one is blameless, but villains are difficult to single out-everyone seemingly bears responsibility for his or her desires and for the outcome of difficult choices so often made hopefully and naively. "If this story collection crackles with the energy of youth, it also feels written by a cool-eyed soul reincarnated at least three times ... By turns funny and pitiless, these tales amount to a vision. The book's voice is unforced in its ready wit, detached compassion. There is an admirable candor. Each character's sexuality seems the natural outcome of a life fully risked."-Allan Gurganus, contest judge and author of The Practical Heartand Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All
Christine Sneed is the author of Little Known Facts. She has an MFA from Indiana University and teaches creative writing at DePaul University, Northwestern University, and Pacific University. Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry won AWP's Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was named the Chicago Writer's Association Book of the Year, received Ploughshares's first-book prize, the John C. Zacharis Award, and was named one of the 7 best books of the year by Time Out Chicago. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Best American Short Stories, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, Ploughshares, Southern Review, among other journals. Visit her website at http://www.christinesneed.com.