2010 Title » Short Fiction
Wouldn't You Like to Know
Pamela Painter writes a tight arc, provides a heartstopping ride. Her characters love and lose and long for more as if their lives depended on it. And they do.
Pamela Painter is the author of two story collections, Getting to Know the Weather, which won the GLCA Award for First Fiction and was reprinted as a Classic Contemporary by Carnegie Mellon, and The Long and Short of It. She is also the co-author of What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. She has received grants from The Massachusetts Artists Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, has won three Pushcart Prizes and Agni Review's The John Cheever Award for Fiction. Painter lives in Boston and teaches in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College.
Freud said that everywhere he went, a poet had been there first. Pamela Painter, even with these crystal prose conundrums, is one of those poets. Her stories are charming and provocative, but be careful if you look again: something fundamental is being pried open and we may look if we dare. I will pay her sentences the highest compliment: they remind me of Grace Paley. I've always loved her stories for how tart and smart they are and how, as I catch my breath after reading each one, I can then feel the emotional thrum of her fiction's beating heart.
Pamela Painter has perfected the short short. Here is a brilliant chronicle of the human condition, moving, complex, wholly original, and huge fun to read.
Pamela Painter is one of a kind, and it's the best kind. Re-reading the intimate stories in this collection, I thought of Colette; reading the stories based on a conceit or metaphor, I thought of Valenzuela. But that was only searching for comparisons; there's nobody like Painter. These stories are so open, yet reveal more every time you read them.
In her stunning new collection, Pamela Painter conjures strange magic, as even her most down-to-earth characters reveal that in the end nobody is ordinary. She's taught me plenty in these pages—about love and the loss of it, about generosity and greed, happiness and pain—but mostly she has earned my undying admiration. This is fiction of immense beauty, full of wisdom and informed by rare grace.
Wouldn't You Like to Know has a story to suit almost every reader's taste, making the collection perfect entertainment for multi-tasking, 21st century adults with Attention Deficit Disorder, except for one thing: Painter's prose is so carefully wrought, her language so poetic and packed with psychological insight, that the reader tends to stop and savor each short piece rather than breeze through all 103 pages (34 stories) in one sitting. Instead of a smorgasbord of surface pleasures, Wouldn't You Like To Know is a series of compact, complete meals created with just a few key ingredients.
—Alison Morse, The Potomac
Read the full review at www.thepotomacjournal.com.
To purchase Wouldn't You Like to Know by Pamela Painter, please contact our distributor, University Press of New England toll free at 1-800-421-1561 or by fax at 1-603-448-9729. The book is also available online at UPNE, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine retailers.
To request a copy for review, please contact the Carnegie Mellon University Press Editorial Offices at (412) 268-2861 or by email at CarnegieMellonUniversityPress@gmail.com.