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Pulp and Paper (Iowa Short Fiction Award) Paperback – October 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 

“Josh Rolnick’s extraordinary stories suggest the author suffers from a strange anatomical condition: he clearly has a heart that’s even larger than his oversized, electrified brain.”—Nic Brown, author, Doubles and Floodmarkers

 



“Josh Rolnick is a wonderful observer and a beautiful storyteller. Each story in Pulp and Paper is a path to the hearts of Rolnick’s characters, who, like you and me, strive to be their true, honest selves despite follies and weaknesses. A truly compassionate collection.”—Yiyun Li

About the Author

 

Josh Rolnick’s short stories have won the Arts & Letters Fiction Prize and the Florida Review Editor’s Choice Prize. They have also been published in Harvard Review, Western Humanities Review, Bellingham Review, and Gulf Coast, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New American Voices. A reporter, editor, and journal publisher, he grew up in New Jersey, spent summers camping his way through Upstate New York, and has lived in Jerusalem, London, Philadelphia, Iowa City, Washington, D.C., and Menlo Park, California. He currently lives with his wife and three sons in Akron, Ohio.

 

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Product Details

  • Series: Iowa Short Fiction Award
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609380525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609380526
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,655,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Pulp and Paper is the 2011 winner of the University of Iowa's John Simmons Short Fiction Award for a first collection of short stories. I wasn't familiar with the award until I read this book, but I have to agree that many of these stories are award-worthy.

Four stories are set in New Jersey: "Funnyboy" begins with an attention-grabbing sentence -- "I glanced out the window as my train pulled into the station and saw the girl who killed my son" -- before exploring the issues of guilt and responsibility surrounding a young boy's accidental death, a loss his father cannot accept. Loss is also at the heart of "Innkeeping," a story written from the perspective of a fifteen-year-old whose father has died and whose mother is struggling to keep their inn afloat. The first sentence -- "I wasn't looking for a new father when Tweedy walked into the bar" -- foreshadows the rest of the story.

"The Herald" is both a tribute to the old fashioned art of newspaper reporting and a personal story of a reporter on a sleepy beat who works against deadline to write an exclusive story about the fate of a missing woman. He implores his managing editor to publish the scoop, but is the story accurate? "Mainlanders" is about two boys from a small barrier island and their tongue-tied amazement that two flirtatious mainland girls visiting the beach are actually willing to talk to them. The boys learn how difficult it is to build a bridge between different worlds.

Four stories take place in (mostly upstate) New York. My favorite story in the collection, "Pulp and Paper," tells of a train crash at a paper plant and what rural neighbors will (or won't) do for each other in a time of disaster. The strain on a relationship caused by an unplanned pregnancy is at the heart of "Big River.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jade E on December 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book of short stories was a pleasant surprise for me as it was published by University of Iowa Press and I really appreciate the exposure UI Press gives up and coming authors.

The Good: I think it takes a talented writer to write short stories that not only have tightly woven plots but characters with depth and a story to tell. I know short stories are a hard sell for me usually because I love to become invested in the story and the characters and obviously I don't get that as much with a short story. This collection of stories however are at times so well written, I am actually angry when I come to the end because I want more. Pulp and Paper is split into two sections... 4 stories in the New Jersey section and 4 stories in the New York section. I personally, thought the New Jersey stories were better. I found Rolnick's ability to make his characters resonate with the readers very impressive and I really enjoyed this collection of short stories!

The Bad: There were a couple of stories that hindered on being boring and this was one of the times I was glad I was reading a book of short stories because I knew that I had other stories to look forward to.

Overall this was a well written and interesting book of short stories and I would recommend it for a quick and brief look at the author, Josh Rolnick. I would definitely be willing to read anything this author puts out. I give this book a B+.

**I received this book free from the publisher through [...]. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sj on October 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rolnick wins. All-time favorite among members of our short-story reading group. What poignancy! What plots! Can't wait for another collection from Rolnick.
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By Jim D. on February 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read a positive review on Josh Rolnick's book, so I decided to buy it. His stories confront love and loss and ask that we answer his questions for ourselves. Funnyboy knocked me for a loop, and Innkeeping is the kind of literary fiction where you find yourself thinking about the situation, what it means, and what may happen after the story. I look forward to seeing more from this author. Highly recommended.
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