In this deeply affecting, beautifully crafted collection of short fiction, Bret Lott broadens his stylistic range, striking a surprisingly surreal tone with stark, hyperrealistic prose. As story after dazzling story deliberately takes you down a deceptively ordinary path, the arresting center of each startles your unsuspecting sensibility.
Among the narrative gems is "Family," in which a husband and wife bicker incessantly before realizing that their two children are missing, only to discover them in a surprising place-and in a disturbing condition. In "Everything Cut Will Come Back," a long-distance phone call between two brothers takes a turn when their own tragic past crackles over the line. In "History," a widow thinks she spots her son at the airport and is left instead with a simple memory of her late husband that resolves her grief. The innocence of three boys is lost when they witness a devastating winter tragedy in "The Train, the Lake, the Bridge."
Within these pages, adulterers are unceremoniously caught, epiphanies arrive during bizarre encounters, and characters move through everyday moments with a fortitude that elevates these stories almost to mythical status. Without a stroke of false sentimentality, The Difference Between Women and Men will leave you strangely shaken-and ever aware of the odd permutations of humankind.
"From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Bret Lott is a native of Los Angeles, California. His parents were raised in Mississippi and East Texas and relocated to Los Angeles in the 1950s. It is this Southern heritage -- going all the way back to the War Between the States -- that Mr. Lott has drawn on in writing "Jewel." He is the author of five highly acclaimed novels, "The Man Who Owned Vermont, A Stranger's House, Jewel, Reed's Beach, " and "The Hunt Club, " as well as two collections of widely anthologized short stories, "A Dream of Old Leaves" and "How to Get Home, " and a memoir, "Fathers, Sons, and Brothers." He lives with his wife and two sons near Charleston, South Carolina, and teaches at the College of Charleston and Vermont College.
Praise for A SONG I KNEW BY HEART
“An affecting novel about the slow workings of forgiveness and redemption . . . informed by virtues that rarely make it unedited into literature anymore.”
–MAUREEN CORRIGAN, National Public Radio
“Written in lyrical rhythms . . . an affecting hymn to family love and a mantra of empathy and forgiveness.”
–Richmond Times Dispatch
“We can only admire the way Lott . . . creates and differentiates so many characters and sets them into action so naturally. . . . A chance to visit a country of grace where the twisted roads of American literature seldom lead us.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A moving story . . . Lott uses lyrical, poetic language and addresses moral principles that force the reader to stop for self-reflection.”