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Rise: Stories (Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction) Paperback – August 7, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The complex interweaving of themes, rendered through precise detail, is akin to a powerful subterranean disturbance that sends seismographs jumping but leaves few visible effects.


“In one of these amazing stories a character says to her husband, ‘Why are you smiling? You’re scaring me.’ That’s how I feel about Rise. There is a yearning so deep in each story, something beautiful and urgent, that the book glows. L. Annette Binder arrives with worlds of empathy and strange surprise.”
—Ron Carlson

"Three years ago I read a story titled 'Dead Languages.' I came out of my chair. I've been in standing ovation position reading every subsequent story written by L. Annette Binder. They came exquisitely one by one, and now you are damn lucky to have them all in one wondrous volume: Rise."
—Michelle Latiolais

“L. Annette Binder is a stunningly talented writer. Her stories are the stories of outsiders, gripping and heartfelt, heightened with hidden undertones of the surreal. It is this tension that makes the worlds she creates so vibrant, and allows her readers to see so deeply into these characters' souls. Rise is a beautiful book, and Binder’s words cut clear and straight to the bone.”
—Hannah Tinti

L. Annette Binder’s Rise is a wondrous debut collection of her stories, any one of which could be an example of the form at its best.
— Peter Dabbene, ForeWord Reviews

The fourteen stories in … Rise (Sarabande Books) bring to mind the title of a Tom Waits album: Glitter and Doom. Rise contains a king’s ransom of both.
—Lee Thomas, Fiction Writers Review

What makes Binder's collection exceptionally compelling is that even the stories without surreal contours seem to be set in a world that is not quite our own... Rise is a knowing exploration of what we do when the unthinkable happens; no matter what form it takes.
—Sarah Bridgins, New York Daily News

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Product Details

  • Series: Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Sarabande Books (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936747316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936747313
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

L. Annette Binder was born in Germany and grew up in Colorado Springs. Her fiction has received a Pushcart Prize and will be performed for Public Radio's Selected Shorts. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in One Story, American Short Fiction, The Southern Review, Third Coast, Fairy Tale Review and others. To find out more, please visit

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Honest. Clear. Raw. Cliché-free.

There's a tone and weight to Binder's prose. She tends to start her stories or their sub-sections with simple clarity, some innocuous moment or statement and then drift her way toward the main action. "The corporate folks needed him in Chicago for three days." "He ignored their cats and stalked his fish pond and fouled his tomato beds." "Last summer a pregnant woman in Omaha lost her balance and fell from her bathroom loft."

The stories dig deep into the psyche of their main characters. Point of view reigns over plot, though there is action and movement too. Ailments, disease and various medical "conditions" give these stories an underlying sense of a world turned inward, of a planet of people focused on what anatomical functions aren't working.

Most of the characters have modest, under-the-radar lives. Binder has the ability to peer deep inside her character's thoughts and shine a light on basic human needs and wants. One man should be "home filing bills" but can't resist a powerful urge to brush hair, as he'd done for his mother. A man with a wife who no longer recognizes him fashions a hobby out of "Mourning the Departed" and looking for conversation and the human touch during funerals for strangers. In "Shelter," a heartbreaking tale of indifference, two neighbors go toe-to-toe in a bitter feud over the property line and only late in the story does Binder let slip the age of Frank, who is defending his turf. It's not a gimmick and there have been clues along the way, but the age--and Frank's resilience--come as a wow-moment shock.

The topics aren't always pleasant, but "Rise" will give you a little lift for its nifty insights and its gem-like moments of hard humanity.

Read "Rise" and you will know you are reading the work of a writer who thinks deeply about her characters and who knows how to chisel real people out of words.
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Format: Paperback
The stories in this collection are very touching, but understated. They all deal with sadness or tragedy, but through the lens of everyday events. They shed light on how people cope with difficult situations on a day-by-day basis. Many of them make use of magical realism, and even those that don't have a spiritual quality to them.

These stories are not heavy on plot, so if that would bother you, this book probably isn't your style. None of the stories has a resolution, nor any real message or conclusion drawn. They're more like little windows into the various characters' lives. They reminded me a little of Karen Russell's stories, and maybe a little of Lydia Davis.
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