A Hole in the Language

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204 pages

"Marly Swick's accomplished stories are wholly contemporary in their grasp of the American situation and wholly traditional in their establishment of rounded, complex characters who live beyond the pages that define them here. Swick has a finely focused, kaleidoscopic awareness as a writer; she takes another look, and another, and gives us certain, varied renditions of mobile, restless people coping with broken, constantly realigning families, fashioning new selves that incorporate reunion, abandonment, and an always hard-won forgiveness. Marly Swick's A Hole in the Language is a lovely, funny, deathly sorrowful, essentially hopeful, wonderful collection of stories. She is a writer with wisdom and new information, and we can only hope she'll be widely read."—Jayne Anne Philips

"These bittersweet stories about vulnerable yet enduring women are enormously appealing. At least one of them, 'Heart,' is so closely woven in humor and pathos, its voice so expertly wrought, that it is exquisite, a fully accomplished masterpiece."—John Leggett

"Swick is an excellent short story writer who seems to create effortlessly. Her stories are clear and direct, and above all, real. These characters encounter complications that have no script. They demonstrate courage and strength in finding a path to follow and in redesigning their journey. A very enjoyable, stimulating collection."—Academic Library Book Review

"In this collection of nine cunningly wrought stories …her characters wrestle with the ineffable. A Hole in the Language is about atomized lives and the ad hoc alchemy that's used to make them whole again…Marly Swick's deliciously bitter stories swing, metronomically, between life's almost unbearable barrenness and its sorrowful, sensual fullness."—New York Times Book Review

"Swick's characters …are made real through fluid prose and generous servings of images and insight."—Kirkus Reviews

These stories are delicate seismographic meditations on disaster and its aftershocks. The characters are survivors, digging their way out of the past, shaken but hopeful. Despite all their tragic losses, there is a pervasive sense of humor, hope, and forgiveness: abandonment leads ultimately to reunion, grief to solace. This is contemporary America—a jigsaw puzzle of fragmented families constantly picking up the pieces and fitting themselves together in new ways to form unforgettable pictures.