Friendly Fire (Iowa Short Fiction Award)

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9780877456438: Friendly Fire (Iowa Short Fiction Award)

Friendly Fire describes how we are sometimes brought down by those we love. Kathryn Chetkovich's stories detail the lives of women finding their way in a contemporary world where the traditional maps of love, family, and community are no longer particularly reliable.

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Kathryn Chetkovich is an alchemist of the unremarkable. She knows that the momentous is always evident in small, suddenly decisive moments and phrases. Yet the characters in Friendly Fire can't quite figure out the secrets and codes they encounter amid the everyday. As Chetkovich's underdogs bump up against über-mensches, subterfuge often seems the only way out. In "Appetites" (which Garrison Keillor selected for The Best American Short Stories 1998 ) Amanda can't seem to stop lying to her new roommates. Then, however, she suddenly realizes that she might be able to get at the truth she's been avoiding: "I felt them looking at me, half-smiling, confused. I was almost home. 'I sent a man to the hospital once.'"

Friendly Fire is the perfect title for this edgy, arresting collection, in which family and friends can't seem to stop hurting one another. In the title story five women who share little but a wry approach to loneliness meet regularly for dinner. When one announces that she's met a new man, "around the room our hearts go hard and soft at the same time, the way they do when someone you love gets something they want." Chetkovich makes you not only hear "the lilt of the unheard question" but know instantly what it is--whether it's one a parent would rather not have to ask a grown child, or a would-be pickup line at a very odd party. --Kerry Fried

About the Author:

Kathryn Chetkovich has spent most of her life in California and currently makes her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Her stories have appeared in the Georgia Review, New England Review, Mississippi Review, and ZYZZYVA.

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