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Venus in the Afternoon (Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction) Paperback – October 17, 2012
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Lieberman’s collection won the 2012 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in short fiction and, like the work of the award’s namesake, Venus in the Afternoon deals with the dark themes of loss and death. A young widow struggles to raise her infant son; a father yearns for a relationship with his estranged daughter; a husband succumbs to grief over his dying wife. Like all the best short story writers, Lieberman has a gift for immediately drawing readers into the narrative and then bringing each tale to a satisfying, if frequently ambiguous, conclusion. Her endings actually feel like whispered hopes or sighs. Setting is all but irrelevant in these character-driven pieces, which lends the stories greater universality and emotional power. Ultimately, the thread holding these exquisitely crafted, self-contained dramas together is a similarity of tone—mournful, with just enough light to rescue the book from utter gloom. There is love here and a sense of happiness that was or may yet be as Lieberman reminds us that sadness and joy are often inextricably entwined. --Patty Wetli
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I found her writing enthralling. The emotional current which runs through it kept me entranced throughout. It's reminiscent to me of a prose version of Sharon Olds' poems - though I read her a long time ago and only have a lingering impression left. And, her characterizations seem to be spot on: E.g. I felt like the Irish gentleman in The Way I See It was the embodiment of a composite of similar men that I've known - one, in particular, seemed to be standing in front of me as I read. It made me laugh and it made me cry, and it made me feel a range of emotions in between. My only disappointment was that there was no next book of hers for me to read.
It was riveting, it took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, entire worlds exposed. An enthralling &
captivating read. I look forward to more.