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THE WOMAN WHO CUT OFF HER LEG AT THE MAIDSTONE CLUB

and other stories

 

by Julia Slavin

 

A wild imagination fused with air-tight logic yields truly inventive stories that begin where fantasy and normalcy cross in Julia Slavin’s The Woman Who Cut off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club.  I’m partial to the woman who mates with an oak tree poisoned by her neighbor, to the couple who baby-proof their home to the point of annihilation, to the housewife who swallows the teenage lawn boy, giving new meaning to the term ‘internal affairs.’  Over and again, Julia Slavin won me over with such singular riffs as a two-page attempt to name the forgotten films of Peter Ustinov.  Brisk, funny, stylish, original.”

                                                            Amy Hempel, Elle Magazine

 

“How does a businessman become obsessed with an eight-pound lobster named Gina?  Why is 46-year-old Steven being pursued by his childhood blanket?  In these and other surreal stories in this collection, Slavin combines the banal and the bizarre to illuminate the dynamics of relationships from both masculine and feminine perspectives.  Simultaneously touching and horrifying, these compelling, highly metaphorical suburban legends are grotesque yet achingly familiar … Slavin’s style is simple, clean, reminiscent in tone of fairy tales, yet her characters are quite well developed, and her insights into the complexities of the human heart are thought provoking.  True love, adultery, incest, marriage, jealousy, the joys of parenthood — all figure here, larger than life and skillfully portrayed.  This is one must-read collection of short stories.”

                                                            Booklist, H(starred review)

 

“A debut collection of 13 rather creepy stories, most describing ordinary people who undergo extraordinarily bizarre events.  While not exactly a surrealist, Slavin has a warped sense of humor and enjoys rubbing the reader’s nose in her wit.  What’s surprising is the ease with which she draws one into her gags, which are fantastic rather than symbolic and carry themselves off with good grace … Purposefully weird but sharp; Slavin has a careful ear and a good eye for detail … There is a precision to [Slavin’s] narration that’s remarkable.”

                                                            Kirkus Reviews

 

Slavin’s imagination and sense of humor combine like a funhouse mirror: reality is still visible, but utterly changed … Even in these bizarre situations, Slavin touches the heart, but she verges on pathos in more conventional stories …Slavin’s penchant for the grotesque is initially startling, but her gruesomely funny view of modern life can be memorable.”

                                                            Publishers Weekly

 

 

Julia Slavin’s suburbia is like no place you’ve ever been.  Bored housewives swallow their lawnboys whole; grown men are stalked by childhood security blankets; young fathers home-babyproof themselves right out of house and family; and beach club denizens cut off their own legs to escape the discomfort of mosquito bites and failed love affairs.  These are

—continued—

but a few of the men and women who people Slavin’s wholly original and hilarious debut

collection of short stories, THE WOMAN WHO CUT OFF HER LEG AT THE MAIDSTONE CLUB and other stories (A John Macrae Book/Henry Holt & Co.; July 1999; $22:00). 

 

Hailed “the most singular and arresting collection of short fiction I’ve read in years” by Rick Moody, and “an auspicious debut by a truly talented new writer” by George Saunders, THE WOMAN WHO CUT OFF HER LEG AT THE MAIDSTONE CLUB is Slavin’s own Tales of the City: stories from the frontlines of middle-class America where acid flashback meets the Cleavers.  Wending their way through the everyday of career, home, and life, her narrators live in a world in which the familiar and the banal walk hand in hand with the fantastic, and the result is one of the most provocative and imaginative debuts of the season.

 

A recipient of the Pushcart Prize, Julia Slavin was recently awarded GQ’s coveted Frederick Exley Fiction prize for 1999; her story Rare Is a Cold Red Center (included in this collection) appears in the May issue.  Such early recognition — coupled with enthusiastic acclaim from the likes of Rick Moody, George Saunders, and Amy Hempel — promises to make THE WOMAN WHO CUT OFF HER LEG AT THE MAIDSTONE CLUB one of the must-reads of the summer, and to catapult Julia Slavin into the enviable realm of hot, young writers-to-watch.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Julia Slavin was a producer for ABC-TV’s Prime Time Live before she moved to Washington, D.C. with her husband, a securities attorney; the mother of two young children, she is currently at work on a novel.

 

 

 

 

THE WOMAN WHO CUT OFF HER LEG AT THE MAIDSTONE CLUB

and other stories

by Julia Slavin

Henry Holt and Company

July 7, 1999

194 pages * ISBN 0-8050-6085-5* $22.00