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by Meaghan Igel | LIT LIFE Short Fiction That’s Not Short on Skill H 7/15ullabaloo

Out of Favor Boys

T 7/22he Outer Vibe Z 7/29ion Lion 8/5

Kris Hitchcock & Small Town Son

Los Bandits B 8/19 8/26


ig Dudee Roo

Fridays 5 to 8PM

Capital Avenue at State Street Events held weather permitting. Dates subject to change.

Friendship Park 70 | REVUEWM.COM | JULY 2011

the O. Henrys and Flannery O’Connors of the world continue begging for a little bit of acknowledgement outside of the writing community. However, with the advent of GVSU writing professor Caitlin Horrocks’ collection of short stories, This is Not Your City, short fiction may be af- forded a chance in the spotlight. “I know short fiction is rarer than


novels, but I’d like to see that change,” said Horrocks, who has been honored with numerous accolades for the stories within the collection, including the Plimpton Prize, the PEN/O. Henry Prize for short fiction and a coveted spot in the Paris Review. “There was never a stage that this particular book might have be- come a novel instead – the stories aren’t linked with the same characters or settings. I wanted to explore a range of different people and situations, and short stories were the way that I could do that.” While the 11 stories themselves aren’t

linked by specific characters or plots, they are ironically bonded by a common thread of isolation; circumstantial, familial, physical, emotional or all of these and more. The story that inspired the collection’s title, “This is Not Your City,” shows the main character’s linguistic isolation as a Russian mail-order bride living in Finland and how her situation

S FAR AS CREATIVE writ- ing genres go, well-executed short fiction doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. While novels and memoirs become the next big thing,

“The earliest stories in the book

were written when I was in grad school in Arizona, and surrounded by friends and fellow writers,” Horrocks said. “But the seeds for many of them were planted earlier, when I was living in Finland and thinking about what it meant to be isolated by language, or difference, or location. Or even the weather. I also wrote the stories in my 20s, when I think a lot of people are trying to figure out what’s next for them, what their lives should or could look like.” Ultimately, Horrocks wants what

every writer wants for their readers – to be entertained, but also to learn some- thing about themselves. In this case, the reader can feel a bit less alone after indulging in stories about the solitary habits and tendencies we all share. “I want readers to be entertained,

that they finish the book having laughed a few times, been creeped out a few times, have felt what it’s like to be lost, and looking for paths out of whatever sorts of forests we find our- selves in.” n

slowly deteriorates her mental state, while “At the Zoo” follows a woman on a family trip with her father and her son, contemplating her relationships and her mental solitude while observing the captive isolation of the animals. The other characters in the story share similar thoughts, as we are blessed enough to see as Horrocks deftly shifts points of view.

Other Literary Events | by Meaghan Igel The Stocked Kitchen by Sarah Kallio

and Stacey Krastins Barnes and Noble, Muskegon July 8, 7 p.m. FREE!, (231) 798-4388

I have to say, it would be great to only have one grocery list every shopping trip. Or to always have ingredients for a great meal in my pantry at a moment’s notice. That’s what Grand Haven natives and former engineers Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins thought, too. That’s why they wrote The Stocked Kitchen, a book that gives you easy, basic grocery lists that give you hundreds of recipe possibilities.

Laughing for a Living by Sue Merrell Schuler Books and Music, Alpine location

July 12, 7 p.m. FREE!, (616) 647-0999

Sue Merrell, author of Laughing for a Living, knows a thing or two about the theatre scene. After all, she did write theatre reviews for the Grand Rapids Press for many years and interviewed such theatrical greats as Cary Grant, Bette Midler and Tony Curtis over the course of her career. Now she tells all in her new book and enlightens us about the perks and pitfalls of reviewing the theatre – and how she was one of the ones lucky enough to laugh for a living.

La’Ron Williams Grand Rapids Public Library – multiple branches

July 12-15, various times FREE!, (616) 988-5400

In a world full of Kindles, Nooks and the World Wide Web, it’s tempting to say that society has lost the fine art of interactive, face-to-face storytelling – that is, until you meet acclaimed and award-winning storyteller La’Ron Williams. In his audience-participatory shows, he uses his vigor, enthusiasm, animation and passion to make the generation-crossing stories he tells come to life. Admit it – it’s not every day you get to see and hear a talented storyteller foster community building, cooperation and the power of the interactive imagination.

CAITLIN HORROCKS Literary Life Bookstore, Grand Rapids July 14, 7 p.m. FREE!, (616) 458-8418



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