"This is a book that's genuine fun to read thanks in part to the comic vision that gives these stories a memorable charm. The humor in "Friendly Fire" springs more from keen observation than situation. It's a complex humor that seems absolutely natural to the predominantly youthful voices of these narrators; yet, beneath the quips, there's a wisdom that prevents the youthfulness from ever seeming callow and a sense of understated sentiment that's all the more affecting for its comic guise."--Stuart Dybek, author of "Childhood and Other Neighbors" and judge of the 1998 John Simmons Short Fiction AwardVom Verlag:
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. These are women who find themselves in that mysterious zone of existence that separates our expectations from what eventually befalls us. It's a gap between what we want and what's offered, between what we think we're capable of and the gesture that must suffice. Consequently, Chetkovich's characters in Friendly Fire, often to their own consternation, find themselves chasing a dream while simultaneously searching for its opposite. As the title suggests, Friendly Fire is a collection that describes how we are sometimes brought down by those we love, often unintentionally, sometimes through willful acts, and usually under circumstances we soon regret. To these characters, romance is both a mystery and a challenge. Their friendships, fed equally by intimacy, jealousy, and frankness, often possess the intensity of marriage and the bonds that are born of shared pain. Ultimately, it's the mistakes -- the moments when they fail each other through lies, affairs, harsh words, lapses in loyalty -- that provide the sudden openings through which these characters see themselves and recognize each other. Their transgressions help identify who they are and finally bring them closer together.
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