From Publishers Weekly
Self-conscious men and tough women inhabit the highways and small towns of Deaver's mainly Midwestern landscape. A lapsed Catholic experiencing a mid-life crisis learns in the title story that church retreats have become encounter groups; a macho computer analyst fantasizes about the office feminist in "Why I Shacked Up with Martha"; a cowgirl drifter hides behind theatrical eye make-up and her ambitions as a writer in "Fiona's Rooms"; and brazenly sexy, country hick Rhonda strings along the faceless adolescent narrator in "Arcola Girls." Permeated with finely crafted writing, grounded in the solidity of objects and places realized through well-textured description and resonant dialogue, this debut (winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction) makes a wise, quietly provocative statement about commonplace tragedy and the ironies and fragility of relationships. Most intriguing are the subtle connections that emerge as recurrent characters combat lossdeparted lovers; quick, pointless death by carwith various, always frustrated retreats from the communal realities of their lives. Less successful, however, is the dramatic integrity of the pieces in isolation. Though the stories accrue power in retrospect, individually they suffer from loose structure that sometimes makes them waver and lose direction.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Written in vivid, spare prose, the best of these stories linger, sad and profound, like songs you sing to yourself.”--New York Times
"Permeated with finely crafted writing, grounded in the solidity of objects and places realized through well-textured description and resonant dialogue, this debut makes a wise, quietly provocative statement about commonplace tragedy and the ironies and fragility of relationships."--Publishers Weekly
"Like all good fiction, the stories in this first collection are true. . . . The language, especially the dialogue, is clean and well-lit; the narration is seemly. This is a fine debut."--Virginia Quarterly Review
Deaver offers yet another snapshot of the chasm that yawns between Christianity and Christendom in Silent Retreats."--Books and Religion
"A triumph . . . a noteworthy introduction."--Kirkus Reviews
"The style of these eleven stories is rich—full of talk, imagery, and wit."--Choice
"This collection . . . is quite impressive."--Chicago Tribune
"Deaver's Silent Retreats is a collection of deeply felt stories, rooted in the American landscape."--San Francisco Review