The Long Swim: Stories (Juniper Prize for Fiction) (Paperback)
A runaway circus lion haunts a small town where two lovers risk more than their respective marriages. A junket to Cuba and an ambassador’s dalliance with a niece hide dark secrets and political revolution. “I’ve always had a knife,” says the unstable stepson to his parents. Inventive, dark, and absurd, the stories in The Long Swim capture Terese Svoboda’s clear-eyed, wry angle on the world: a place of violence and uncertainty but also wild beauty, adventure, and love both lasting and ephemeral. Her characters strive for escape—through romance, travel, or more self-destructive pursuits—and collide with the constraints of family and home, their longing for freedom and autonomy often at odds with the desire for safety and harmony.
Cynical, irreverent, and formally daring, Svoboda’s stories in The Long Swim are a deft exploration of womanhood and humanity. Waves of provocation and wonder toss the reader and leave them wanting more.
About the Author
TERESE SVOBODA is the author of over twenty books, including fiction, poetry, biography, translation, and memoir. Her two most recent novels are Dog on Fire and Roxy and Coco. Her many honors include a Guggenheim fellowship, the Bobst Prize in fiction, the Iowa Poetry Prize, an NEH translation grant, the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, a Jerome Foundation grant, the O. Henry Award for the short story, and a Pushcart Prize for the essay.
"Exquisite. . . .[Svoboda] crafts singular depictions of her characters’ inner worlds."—Publishers Weekly
“Whenever I want to remember the pleasures and the possibilities of language, I read Terese Svoboda. I am awestruck by what she can make live out of flat language on paper—loose lions, knife-wielding children, black hole men and vibrant nude women, adulterers and newlyweds and orphans, the legless dog joyfully buoyant on life's ‘long swim,’ the unspeakable griefs and joys that curtain our lives like ‘the pell-mell greeny rain.’ This new collection is a lightning storm, revelatory and galvanic—I love The Long Swim, and Svoboda’s crackling, hilarious, gorgeous prose-music.”—Karen Russell, author of Orange World and Other Stories and Swamplandia!
“These stories, so precise and joyful in language and movement, don’t hesitate to dive meaningfully into heaviness and honesty. What musical and beautifully-written pieces to read aloud and savor.”—Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
“[This] collection is wry, often hilarious, and just as often sad, sad, sad. What a book! I admired the big and small surprises with each new gemlike tale. This is [a] confident collection that cultivates and builds on its own idiosyncrasy of vision. It makes a big promise and fulfills it entirely.”—Robin McLean, author of Pity the Beast
“Terese Svoboda is a master of the dire and the blackly comic and a virtuoso of economy and voice, and The Long Swim features the jaunty and the wounded who in extremis maintain their wit and lacerating self-awareness. These survivors apparently believe that all trouble should be loud and bold, generating emotional histories that are like reports from a battlefield, but they nevertheless find their way, through their diminished toolbox for negotiating trauma, toward cooperation and mutual regard.”—Jim Shepard, author of The Book of Aron and The World to Come