Nice Big American Baby (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
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A blazingly original, profoundly moving new work of fiction by a writer whose world–and imagination–knows no boundaries. “I don’t know what planet Judy Budnitz comes from,” said Newsweek on the publication of her fiction debut, Flying Leap, “but I’m happy to have her. Tremendous . . . funny, dark, adventurous, slanted, and enchanted.” These twelve astonishingly inventive stories–which take us into the heart of America and around the globe, from suburban backyards and swimming pools to war-torn streets and fallout shelters–are riveting, seductive, and impossible to forget.
In “Flush,” a mammogram prompts a dark comedy of blurred identities between a mother and her two adult daughters. In “Elephant and Boy,” a surrogate mother-and-son bond, tinged with the erotic, is formed when a philanthropist attempts to “civilize” a young elephant handler. “Nadia” sounds the depths of a young woman’s complex feelings toward a friend’s mail-order bride from Eastern Europe. “Preparedness”–an Orwellian tale in Technicolor–imagines rapture in the wake of imminent apocalypse. And in “Where We Come From,” a pregnant woman’s many failed attempts to cross the border do not lessen her resolve to give birth on U.S. soil to a “nice big American baby.”
Magical, poignant, often transcendent, these are virtuoso modern fables that mine our stores of hidden urges, misunderstandings, and blind passions, inviting us on a voyage through places and times at once deeply familiar and wondrously strange.
About the Author
Judy Budnitz’s stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Story, The Paris Review, The Oxford American, Glimmer Train, Fence, and McSweeney’s, and she is the recipient of an O. Henry Award. Flying Leap was a New York Times Notable Book in 1998. Budnitz is also the author of the novel If I Told You Once, which won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award in the United States and was short-listed for the Orange Prize in the United Kingdom. She lives in San Francisco.
“This is fiction that’s fierce and true, hilarious and creepy, wise and graceful and occasionally very, very strange. The next time someone tells you the short story is dead, throw this book at them.” –Daniel Handler (“Lemony Snicket”), author of A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Basic Eight“Masterly . . . sparkling. . . . Reading Budnitz's stories is like experiencing the exhilaration of flight.” –San Francisco Chronicle “There isn’t anything Judy Budnitz can’t or won’t do, and right when you think she couldn’t possibly be more inventive and daring and smart and universal, she proves you wrong.” –Ploughshares “The impressive Nice Big American Baby . . . leaves us breathless, astonished and more than a little bit awed.” –Miami Herald “Budnitz’s collection is jarring, humane, funny, and so lively it practically buzzes.” –Entertainment Weekly“If you crossed the magical realism of Gabriel Garc’a M‡rquez with the hip contemporary voice of Lorrie Moore, you might come up with something like the fiction of Judy Budnitz. . . . One of America’s most engaging and innovative fictional voices.” –Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Judy Budnitz is the real thing. . . . Fabulist and down to earth, personal and political, wicked and generous, always surprising. . . . The voice is deadpan, but also has the rhythm of stand-up comedy.” –Newsday“The further Budnitz gets from reality, the more beautifully she writes about humanity. . . . The new collection is ripe, humorous and full of life–to put it aside is to wake from a strange, deliciously inventive dream.” –The Oregonian