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Visitations

Stories

240 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / no illustrations

  Hardcover / 9780807168127 / August 2017
“People—the species defies logic!” reflects the protagonist of one of the dazzling, intricate stories in Visitations. In this latest collection from Lee Upton, characters navigate often bewildering situations, from the homeschooled girl trying to communicate telepathically with an injured man she finds on the beach to the experimental theater troupe (called the Community Playas) composed primarily of actors the story’s narrator has wronged or been wronged by.
 
Upton’s stories frequently draw inspiration from books—books as art objects or lost objects, as inspiration or points of contention. “Night Walkers” tells the story of the world’s laziest book club, while “A Story’s End” follows a woman’s search for the last book read by her mother before her sudden death. Elsewhere, the ghosts of literature and writers past haunt the characters’ present: “The Tell-All Heart” sees a woman falling in love with Edgar Allan Poe’s discarded suit, and an unruly, unpredictable shadow creeps in a child’s window to demand that he cut off the other hand of Captain Hook in “A Shadow.”
 
In the surreal yet playful tradition of Karen Russell and George Saunders, Visitations brings together seventeen incandescent short stories from a writer at the height of her powers.

Lee Upton, the Francis A. March Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence at Lafayette College, is the author of many books of poetry, fiction, and literary criticism. Kirkus Reviews named her previous collection of short stories, The Tao of Humiliation, one of the Best Books of 2014.

Praise for Visitations

“The stories in Lee Upton’s Visitations remind me of those by the great Edith Pearlman: swift, rueful, erudite, moving, and full of wisdom. And very, very funny. I laughed, hard, while reading these stories, often at things that can’t be printed on the cover of a book. Which is just one of the many reasons why you should look inside.”—Brock Clarke, author of The Happiest People in the World

“In these gorgeous stories Lee Upton writes with wicked wit and wild imagination. Her work is full of beautiful sentences and the best kind of surprises: unexpected swerves, uneasy alliances, wives who leave their husbands on their wedding night. Visitations is a wonderful collection.”—Margot Livesey, author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“In Visitations, the inimitable Lee Upton spins myth and legend into enchanting and terrifying stories all her own. Hilarious and tragic (think Donald Antrim meets Rebecca Curtis), these stories grab you by the throat and don’t let go. Here, a mother fights a groundhog for her daughter’s flowers; a Magwitchian figure washes onto a beach and solicits a child’s help; two women suffer the existential abuse of experimental community theater. In one fine story, a character finds herself marked by her history ‘like getting a tattoo visible only to herself.’ Reader, I implore you, let this magic book tattoo itself on you.”—David James Poissant, author of The Heaven of Animals

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