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Further Adventures in the Restless Universe: Stories Paperback – March 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her elegant second collection (after the novel Carrying the Body), Raffel finds lyrical appeasement in the everyday concerns of raising children, being a dutiful daughter and wife, and simply enduring one's family. The mother of a seven-year-old son in Her Purchase is viewed as a master of the child's universe, teaching him everything he knows, exhausted by his constant asking of questions, yet amazed, too, that she can still cherish his happiness. Raffel employs mannered dialogue to artful effect throughout, such as the phone conversation between two sisters in The Interruption, in which one attempts to tell the story of how their great-aunt came from Poland to Chicago, but spirals into a halfhearted musing on frustrations in love. The mother-daughter getaway depicted in North of the Middle allows the pair to dissect their frozen relationship in conversations that underscore their inability to communicate. The Air and Its Relatives is a marvelous glimpse at the evolution of a father-daughter relationship through snapshots of his teaching her to drive and other telling flashbacks. Raffel's stripped-to-the-bone prose is a model of economy and grace. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

With 21 stories in just under 100 pages, and in prose as lean and demanding as poetry, Raffel’s slender second collection of short fiction holds a surprising amount of compassion and wisdom between its covers. Like those of Lydia Davis or Mary Robison, Raffel’s playful metaphors and vivid snapshots of domestic life offer joy and insight. Her characters, mostly disillusioned or fearful mothers and daughters, are ever hopeful in their daily endeavors to communicate with those they love most—their families. A woman takes her seven-year-old son on a museum tour, fighting to strike a balance between motherly instruction and allowing her son to discover things for himself. Unable to sleep, a man implores his dozing wife to confess the true account of a drowned woman she often repeats. A mother finds it easier to teach her son words in other languages than to keep her promise to tell him a bedtime story. These reflective, well-tempered fictions are bursting with energy, requiring readers to look more closely at the world around them. --Jonathan Fullmer

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Dzanc Books (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976717794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976717799
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,013,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dawn Raffel's new book is The Secret Life of Objects, which was selected for Oprah's Summer Reading List, 2012 and reviewed in the San francisco Chronicle as "a lean, brilliant, playful memoir." She is also the author of two collections--Further Adventures in the Restless Universe and In the Year of Long Division--and a novel, Carrying the Body. Her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, BOMB, The Mississippi Review Prize Anthology, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, The Brooklyn Rail, The Quarterly, NOON, and many other periodicals and anthologies. She is the books editor at Reader's Digest and the editor of The Literarian at The Center for Fiction.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bev golo on April 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Further Adventures in the Restless Universe leaves a rather wonderful impression. It reveals in nuances much of the universal experience, the feelings and thoughts we often can't find words for are given language here. The loves we know for those closest to us, children, parents, family in general, the travails as well, are revealed in a touch, an experience, a loss. Raffel knows how to evoke scenes and what passes between people in ways that are unforgettable. To read this book is a simple joy, one that can be tasted again and again.
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By fran gordon on April 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I gulped down . . .UNIVERSE in one sitting. Granted, it's short. But I had to go back to reread twice - just for the pleasure (and often pathos with humor), and magic of the book. As if I could find some a key to our universe within. I was stunned. And deeply inspired. David Gates, another of U.S.'s best fiction writers dusted it/my inspiration off - as I see his praise ". . .not only models of writerly integrity, but moments of the spirit asserting itself out of the depths of silence." Wow. That latter phrase says it all. Great books have been my solace in life. Language itself is an act of conjuring. Few do this s well as Raffel. FURTHER ADVENTURES IN THE RESTLESS UNIVERSE is the kind of book that has readers sharing their experiences about certain stories - too bad word of mouth doesn't have the clout it once did in our culture. Raffel is the real deal.

Was further, excuse pun, enlightened by publisher (Not Raffel's) who just read . . .Universe thought the writing so utterly singular, moving & compelling that it was like nothing he's ever read. And since our culture is compelled to compare (though we need not ), he then said James Joyce - and quoted a few lines that brought me to epiphany - yes yes yes - Raffel is a bit like that; hadn't thought of this before. And I'd bet money Joyce isn't an influence. I suppose, if one is against the scan of prose &/or originality - they might call disjointed. Publisher spoke of the classic stories of Dubliners, not the novels.
When originality is bashed. And those with no ear trash music . . .well, that's not good. But FURTHER ADVENTURES IN THE RESTLESS UNIVERSE is beyond excellent.
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Format: Paperback
One word: gorgeous.

Two more words: sensuous delight.

Three more: read this book.
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