Congratulations to Rhonda Lomazow, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by Ron Currie Jr. and The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns.
This Close: Stories by Jessica Francis Kane from Graywolf Press. This new book by the author of The Report hits bookstores on Tuesday, joining a ripe bumper crop of short story collections this spring. Here's just a taste of what you'll find in these dozen stories:
A recent college graduate living in New York City finds himself in a strangely entangled friendship with his dry cleaner and her son. An older woman, irritated with her wealthy young neighbor's yard "improvements," offers a corner of her lawn to a Croatian immigrant who wants a vegetable garden. A daughter accompanies her father to Israel, where, seeing a new side of him away from her mother, she makes an unusual bargain.And here are a couple of my favorite opening paragraphs from This Close:
Their first morning in London, a Monday, Sarah looked out the window and saw a squirrel eating from a woman's hand. Their hotel, the Royal Lancaster, stood on the north edge of Hyde Park. It was the middle of February, off-season, the only way they could afford to come, and the reason, Sarah believed, that they'd been given a room on such a high floor with windows facing south. These rooms went for much more in the summer, she was sure. They had a beautiful view over the Italian fountains at the top of the Serpentine and the park stretching away to the left and right. The landscape looked as though it had been drawn overnight in wet ink, the grass a moist dark green, the bare trees blackened by rain. Even the woman kneeling down to the squirrel was wearing a slick yellow raincoat that looked shiny and fresh.
--from "Evidence of Old Repairs"
Six weeks after his college roommate died, Ben thought he saw him in London: the square jaw and pale skin, the round eyes and devilish grin. Ben followed the man for half a block, but it was only a stranger in the crowd on Oxford Street. In the weeks that followed, Ben saw lots of people who reminded him of Mike Leary. It seemed the city was suddenly populated with dozens of men who shared his fondness for gray parkas, cheap tight jeans, baseball caps and bargain boots.
--from "Double Take"
If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of This Close, all you have to do is email your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org
Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. One entry per person, please. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on March 7—at which time I'll draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on March 8. If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email. Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).
Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.