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Contents Under Pressure Paperback – February 1, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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Contents Under Pressure is a beautiful story collection by a writer whose wisdom and compassion illuminate every page. Ellen Prentiss Campbell understands how her vividly drawn characters can love and hurt each other simultaneously, and she probes into the recesses of their hearts. Altogether a pleasure to read. --Author Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Contents Under Pressure is an aptly named book, indeed. These stories crackle with tension, delivered in language with the concision and precision of poetry. Never predictable, always insightful, and often breathtakingly acute, Campbell is a writer to watch. --Rose Solari, author of The Lost Girl
The strange and the unexpected play powerful roles in Ellen Prentiss Campbell's haunting stories of transformation. The characters' dilemmas -- a foundering marriage, a child's death, a father's madness -- are not so much resolved at the story's end as they are given surprising new forms. In one, an amazing tour de force, a young woman drawn to the underwater world is transformed into a mermaid. Campbell's precise, elegant prose renders her gift for the uncanny both believable and a wonderful read. --Kate Blackwell, author of You Won't Remember This
About the Author
Ellen Prentiss Campbell's short fiction has appeared in journals including The Massachusetts Review, The Fourth River, and The Potomac Review. Her debut novel, The Bowl with Gold Seams, will be released in May 2016 (Apprentice House Press). Contents Under Pressure was nominated by The Broadkill River Press for The National Book Award. She lives in Washington, D.C.
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These stories are vivid, engaging, and powerful. The characters are limned and developed with an extraordinary eye for detail, of both their physical and emotional selves. One story in particular, The Bicycle Lesson, gripped me and wouldn't let go, so that I had to set the book aside for a day before finishing it. Other readers may have the same reaction to a story about a dead child -- or an old woman moved to a rest home -- or a dry well. The worlds these characters inhabit are so carefully crafted and closely observed that the reader can enter each in an almost otherworldly way. But there's nothing soft or sentimental about those worlds, so one should be prepared to be shaken.