Death Is Not an Option: Stories

Death Is Not an Option: Stories

by Suzanne Rivecca

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A teacher obsesses over a student who comes to class with scratch marks on his face; a Catholic girl graduating from high school finds a warped kind of redemption in her school’s contrived class rituals; a woman looking to rent a house is sucked into a straAngely inappropriate correspondence with her landlord—these are just a few of the powerful plotlines in Suzanne Rivecca’s gorgeously wrought debut collection. From a college student who adopts a false hippie persona to find love to a young memoirist who bumps up against a sexually obsessed fan, the characters in these fiercely original tales grapple with what it means to be honest with themselves and the world. As provocative as Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior, the exuberant prose of Death Is Not an Option explodes “with piercing insight . . . illuminating the dangerous dance between victims and saviors” (Melanie Rae Thon).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781464016011
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 03/09/2012
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Suzanne Rivecca’s fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices 2009, among other publications. A winner of the Pushcart Prize and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she lives in San Francisco.

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Death Is Not an Option 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
gbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is a lot to like here, Rivecca writes well and the seven short stories are fresh and original, though a little dark and not for all. The first story, ¿death is not an option¿, put me off a bit as it seemed geared for a younger reader, but if that happens to you, give the others a try. I liked ¿yours will do nicely¿, which was about a girl picking up a stranger in a bar, and her conflicted feelings about him and a male friend. ¿very special victims¿, was excellent, about the aftermath in life to being molested by an uncle as a child; I found it both unflinchingly honest as well as subtle. Lastly ¿look, ma, i¿m breathing¿ was also good, about a young author who wrote of having lied about seeing the Virgin Mary as a child and then later confessed; in searching for a place to rent, she runs across a somewhat creepy would-be landlord.A little uneven but worth reading, and I will look for more from Rivecca.Quotes:On child abuse, this in trying to discern abuse as a teacher in ¿none of the above¿:¿Alma knew the signs. Abused and neglected children were (a) withdrawn; (b) developmentally delayed; or (c) `acting out,¿ a term she despised for its jargony inexactitude, but she knew it when she saw it. And Peter was none of the above.¿On children:¿She loved her students, all of them, even the ones she didn¿t like. They broke her heart. Not because their lives were bad, but because she saw their personalities forming day to day and some of them had such charisma, such wily quirky charm, and others were so shy and kind, and once in a while she¿d fleetingly recognize some familiar, adaptive, adultlike tic in their facial expressions or voices ¿ the way they¿d leap into a conversation to say their piece or brusquely brush off an advance would remind her of her favorite aunt, say, or her old boyfriend from college. And it was somehow sad to see such identifiable traits in such miniature packages, like baby animals whose paws were far too big for their bodies. The traits were so much more endearing in people who didn¿t know how to wield them. Each child was a particular type of person ¿ the type to bring a book on a plane to ward off garrulous strangers, the type to be a garrulous stranger ¿ and they didn¿t know it yet.¿On lust:¿She had never hated him before; she did now. She scrutinized him for a trace of the taut, hunted shiftiness men¿s faces assumed when they were driven to be with her and didn¿t know why. It was never sweet. They were never besotted, just stiffly, sullenly advancing as though shoved toward her from behind. Sometimes they looked at her like an animal eyeing an untrustworthy trainer; other times in a gauging, measuring way, like she was an obstruction they needed to lift and move to get what they wanted.¿On meeting someone, this is an excerpt from a letter in ¿yours will do nicely¿:¿When you told me about putting the radio collar on the female wolf, I envied you. I want to find a beautiful wild thing and track it, be able to tell if it¿s still alive from hundreds of miles away, be able to know I had once touched a killer while she was unconscious, briefly and vulnerably harmless for the first time in her life. I keep thinking of the wolf waking up in the snow hours later like a creature coming out of a spell, feeling that something about her was different but not knowing why, shaking the snow off her fur and running back into the trees, irreversibly changed, connected to someone now. And never knowing it. But on come cellular level I think she does know. Maybe that¿s why she went so far away.¿Choose life, said the Catholics. Choose life, said the pagans. I finally am, but not in the way either creed intended. I don¿t want to know every little thing that¿ll happen to me up until the day I die. I don¿t want to follow the plan to a higher power. I think that meeting you, singling you out and asking you for something, was the first step toward a new way of being. And I am changed now. I
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