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To Begin Again Paperback – February 18, 2011
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"Moving, intense, yet crafted with a delicate touch...a unique collection of stories that urges us to examine the complex wounds and wonderments of the human experience." --Beth Hoffman, author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
"Jen Knox has put her unique characters in situations with twists and turns that constantly surprise..." --Steve Lindahl, author of Motherless Soul
"Knox has once again proven to be a skilled weaver of words..." --Kenneth Weene, author of Widow's Walk and Memoirs from the Asylum
"Knox explores the human condition with wisdom, subtlety, and the understanding that sometimes just asking the question is answer enough." --Dave Hoing, author of Hammon Falls and Voices of Arra
About the Author
Jen Knox earned her MFA from Bennington's Writing Seminars. She works as a creative writing professor at San Antonio College. She served as Fiction Editor and Workshop Coordinator at Our Stories Literary Journal. Jen's first book was a memoir, Musical Chairs. Some of her short stories and essays have been published or are forthcoming in Annalemma Magazine, Bartleby Snopes, Eclectic Flash, Flashquake, Foundling Review, Fwriction:Review, The Houston Literary Journal, Long Story Short, Metazen, Midwest Literary Magazine, Narrative Magazine, Ramshackle Review, Short Story America, Slow Trains, Superstition Review & Used Furniture Review.
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Top customer reviews
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These short stories and essays pull one into the emotional imbalances of all ages. Each story will leave you wishing you could meet the character and know them better. Whether she is writing of the sweetness of an injured bird and its effect on a dying man or a troubled teenager it carries with it glimpses of hope, resilience, and a powerful impact on one's psyche.
There is a subtly and yet vibrant portrayal of how even an ordinary person's life contains an extraordinary message. Kudos to Ms. Knox.
"Like Smoke" is another interesting story about a young woman going through hardships after the death of her father. It's difficult not to feel sorry for her as she attempts to pick up more hours at her airport job, but what ends up happening blew me away. I didn't see it coming and couldn't help but cheer for Amira as she makes her final choice.
"Negligence" is the story of a father who takes his daughter to beauty pageants and wants his darling to win. It grabbed my attention right away because it made me immediately think about Jonbenet Ramsey. However, nothing as sinister happens to the narrator's daughter, that we know of, but something does happen to someone. What I really enjoyed about Knox's stories is that many of them, such as "Negligence," end without ending, leaving the interpretation up to the reader. While the allusions are there, we never truly know what happened, and that's what makes these stories so enjoyable. Of course, there are too many short stories to relay in this review; these are just a few of the ones that stood out to me, among many others.
Even when her characters speak rationally, they seem driven by emotions of which they aren't fully aware. There is an admirable lightness of touch on display here, no showboating, no moralizing. Knox is humane without being sentimental. Her characters aren't always sympathetic, which makes them all the more believable.
The stories tend to flash fiction length with the longest being 13 pages but most just a few. Even so, they felt sufficient to communicate a contained experience without leaving me wanting more. They each captured a brief chapter in someone's life, and they did it realistically.
My only criticism? She deserves a much better cover than she got. The cover verges on sappy, and that's a very poor reflection of the emotional honesty on display here
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