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Direct Sunlight: Stories (Paperback)
A collection of twelve stories by award-winning author Christine Sneed
The stories in Direct Sunlight, award-winning author Christine Sneed’s latest, are inspired by the memorable strangeness of everyday life. The characters in these topically diverse tales experience events that bring the terms of their day-to-day lives and their relationships into focus in a way hitherto foreign to them.
The title story features two adult children learning of their father’s second family long after his death in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “Mega Millions” explores the aftermath of a small-town midwestern factory employee’s enormous lottery win. In “Dear Kelly Bloom,” a young journalist takes on the role of advice columnist at a faltering Chicago newspaper around the time of the 2008 financial meltdown and soon finds himself tasked with replying to his own mother’s letter requesting guidance on family matters. In “The Monkey’s Uncle Louis,” a contentedly childless man tries to make sense of his sister’s decision to adopt a capuchin monkey after she and her husband find themselves unable to conceive a baby of their own.
The stories in Direct Sunlight rely on humor but are balanced by Sneed’s clear-eyed sobriety about the sorrows inherent in the human condition.
About the Author
CHRISTINE SNEED is the author of three novels and two previous story collections, most recently Please Be Advised and The Virginity of Famous Men. She is also the editor of a collection of short fiction, Love in the Time of Time’s Up. Sneed has received the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction and the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award, among other honors, and has published stories in The Best American Short Stories and O. Henry Prize Stories. She lives in Pasadena, California.
"Christine Sneed's inimitable eye for detail, beautiful writing, hauntingly complex characters, and trademark humor shine in these brilliant, moving stories. Direct Sunlight is everything a short-story collection should be." —J. Ryan Stradal, author of Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club
“Christine Sneed is a master storyteller, and Direct Sunlight dazzles as an example of her ability to illuminate the intricacies of relationships and longing. Her stories are glorious in their empathy and honesty, teasing out the nuanced bonds between family, friends, and lovers. Funny, profound, and moving, this collection reminds us of our humanity, of the beautiful vulnerability and tenderness we can extend to one another. Read this brilliant book now. It will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page." —Dana Johnson, author of Elsewhere, California and In the Not Quite Dark
“This beautifully written, emotionally rich, engrossing third collection by Christine Sneed firmly establishes her as a master of the form. I was awed, story after story, by the range of her subjects and the shrewd humanity of her vision.” —Elizabeth McKenzie, National Book Award nominee for The Portable Veblen
“Brisk, bright, larky, and heartbreaking—such are the stories in Christine Sneed’s superb new collection. You’ll see yourself in these pages, and your friends and family members, too. Only Sneed could give us a tale that features a horse named Peanut Sundae Pie—and one that ends up being less about livestock and more about living, period. Direct Sunlight is quirky, engaging, and quite wonderful." —Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of Quitting: A Life Strategy