The Send-Away Girl
Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in
Pub Date: 10/15/2009
List Price: $24.95
The Send-Away Girl
Barbara Sutton's quirky debut collection tracks the emotional journeys of characters struggling to find harmonious relationships with the people they are expected to love and be loved by. All too often, for Sutton's characters, such supposedly sacred relationships disappoint. In the end, it is not the loved ones who are loved, but the strangers met through chance encounters-the interim mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, husbands and wives. Such unlikely friendships weave their way through Sutton's stories and create sometimes funny and sometimes tragic reflections on the accidental and often fleeting nature of love.
Through Sutton's vibrant voices we meet a memorable and varied cast of characters, all suffering the same fate. From the adolescent Marta, who finds a substitute for her absent mother and father in her grandmother's improbable and eccentric relationship with the parish priest, to the emotionally unstable, unemployed Virginia Woolf scholar who finds kinship with a belligerent, equally unstable, nine-year-old boy, Sutton delivers authentic scenes of severe isolation coupled with brief moments of resplendent harmony. It is these transitory moments, these glimpses into the elusive world of light, that manage to sustain our hope.
Sutton knows how to convey those mysterious transitional moments when the familiar grows suddenly strange. These tightly crafted, tough and true stories show characters 'waiting for fries at the Beckettian drive-through,' struggling with the inescapable strains of daily life, here presented by a writer who knows how to deliver the goods.
—Askold Melnyczuk, author of Ambassador of the Dead
From the opening pages of Barbara Sutton's collection I had the exhilarating sense of being in the presence of a remarkable new voice: wicked, pungent, exquisitely intelligent, wildly humorous. And each successive story only served to deepen my admiration for this writer's originality and for her empathy with a startlingly wide range of characters: old and young, drunk and sober, male and female, naive and cynical. The Send-Away Girl is a splendidly accomplished debut.
—Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture
Sutton's 10 tales display an absolutely wild sense of humor, running the gamut from witty erudition to outright silliness. . . . Each story is made vivid by Sutton's fierce intelligence, captivating dialogue, and unique scenarios. . . . Fresh and funny stories.
—Joanna Wilkinson, Booklist (starred review)
The pretext for these stories is to entertain; their subtext is to make readers think. Sutton accomplishes both.
—Glenn Hopp, Salem Press
An extraordinary satisfaction results from encountering an author who writes in a way specific to one's own time and place. The stories in Belmont resident Barbara Sutton's fierce and funny debut collection, The Send-Away Girl, are of the present: the present time, this moment in the modern world, and the present place, Boston. Although her Flannery O'Connor Award-winning collection will certainly appeal to audiences outside Boston, readers in town are in for a particular delight. . . . There are moments when the prose just shines. Sutton finds an undeniable comedy in our darkest sorrows.
Lose yourself in a sensorial field day as Barbara Sutton paints an intricate, picturesque vision of her character's world. Creep behind their eyes and find yourself in a Twilight Zone moment, where somehow you're vacuumed from your futon into the story, then, to your surprise, suddenly plucked from it (how did she do that?).
In 'Tra il Devoto et Profano' and especially in the title story, [Barbara Sutton] evokes the lost urban world of Nathanael West, while in others, like 'Risk Merchants,' she wryly demonstrates how times-and fiction-have changed. . . . Sutton's fiction is about impermanence and abandonment, and at her best, in a story like 'Rabbit Punch,' she enlivens these themes with a gutsy combination of pathos and personal terror.
—New York Times Book Review