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The Decline of Pigeons Paperback – July 16, 2013
The Amazon Book Review
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In her debut collection, Deal portrays characters struck by varying measures of loss and isolation and charts their struggles to understand and accept their predicaments. “Nature” follows a young married woman, Nikki, dealing with the emotional and physical aftermath of a debilitating car accident. She cautiously strikes up a relationship with her next-door neighbor, Feldon, a disabled police officer. As the two grow closer, Nikki begins to test the relationship with her husband. In the devastating “Dinosaurs,” Elizabeth, a young widow, travels with her in-laws and son to a dilapidated dinosaur park. During the outing, Elizabeth finds herself at odds with her overbearing mother-in-law, leading to a tense confrontation that offers a glimpse into the perception and depth of their grief. The deep-seated tension between two adult sisters reaches a breaking point in “Six Foot,” when, in the aftermath of their father’s death, Nance pressures Jools to convince an elderly man to sell his property to profit Nance’s boss. Throughout these nine striking stories, Deal deftly explores the moments during which her characters’ lives shift or unravel. --Leah Strauss
About the Author
Janice Deal's stories have appeared in literary magazines including The Sun, CutBank, The Ontario Review, The Carolina Quarterly, StoryQuarterly, and New Letters, and in the anthology, New Stories from the Midwest. Her collection was a finalist in the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and she is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship Award for prose. THE DECLINE OF PIGEONS is her first collection of stories to be published in book-length form. She is currently working on a novel.
Top customer reviews
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Deal pulls you in immediately with carefully crafted wordsmithing and imagery...into the setting, into the characters, and into the atmosphere. Walking through the dilapidated dinosaur statue park, for example, in "Dinosaurs," I felt the isolation, the sense of better times gone by, the loss not only of Elizabeth's husband, but of happy childhoods where dinosaur parks are places of wonder. She has to face her own grief as well as that of her son and her in-laws while trying to move on the best she can. Similarly, all the other stories are tied together with a related theme...reflections on how the main characters cope with loss and how their reactions to loss effect those around them.
I highly recommend this book, and hope to see more works from Deal in the future!