In Katherine Vaz’s new collection of short fiction, beauty is continually and painfully present in all places–in a Thanksgiving dinner assembled by a widowed DMV worker being stalked by an irate customer; in a middle-aged Hollywood actress who captivates a young studio animator for decades; in the aftermath of an unthinkable tragedy; and in a daughter’s memories of the ethereal, melting ice sculptures made by a woman embroiled in an affair with a wealthy lawyer.
Amid their complex, turbulent relationships in a chronic state of crisis, Vaz’s wise and restless protagonists carry within them the seeds of a vanished, gracious world of urbane dinner parties and passionate affairs–a humane and cultured civilization whose flawed inhabitants are redeemed by their ability to blend the aesthetic imperative with the power to love.
Katherine Vaz is the author of two novels, Saudade and Mariana, as well as two short story collections, Fado & Other Stories and Our Lady of the Artichokes & Other Portuguese-American Stories. Once designated a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer, her work has appeared in six languages and has received numerous accolades, including the Library of Congress’ Top Thirty International Books of 1998, the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and the Prairie Schooner Book Award. Her children’s stories have appeared in anthologies by Viking, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster.
Joan Wickersham was born in New York City and grew up there and in Connecticut. She is the author of The News from Spain: Seven Variations on a Love Story. Her memoir The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order was a National Book Award Finalist. She is also the author of a novel, The Paper Anniversary.