Women in Bed

Women in Bed : Nine Stories

3.28 (99 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Jessica Keener's extraordinary debut novel, Night Swim captivated readers with its eloquence, insight, and humanity. This gripping first novel announces the arrival of a strong, distinct and fully evolved new voice," said Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of A Visit from the Goon Squad. Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants called Keener, An amazing new literary voice."Now Jessica Keener returns with this collection of nine stories that thematically address variations of love - love of self, family, and sexual relationships - from loneliness and isolation, desperation and rejection - to need and passion, forgiveness and, finally, to love found.Secrets" follows a young woman that gets involved with a female friend who pushes her boundaries around sex, love, and intimacy.In Papier Mache," a college student who loses brother to suicide is grieving and gets entangled with a professor who is a critic and over-intellectualizes everything. The student challenges the professor and vice versa in a strange power dance with emotional fallout.Boarders" tells the story of a young college student who drops out to be with her narcissistic lover.
She lives in grim boarding house with desolate, lonely men until she realizes that she must flee to find something better, healthier, more nurturing and loving.Woman with Birds in her Chest" involves a woman who leaves her social worker job and realizes she has never truly nurtured herself. Her ensuing breakdown puts her loving marriage to the test.Recovery" tells of a young woman in a hospital room who witnesses death, escapes her own, and comes to terms with life's uncertainties and the unexpected power of sibling love.In Shoreline," a woman leaves her husband, goes to a cottage on the beach, and has a flirtation with a client. She soon discovers that she must end her marriage before she can move on to find a new love.In Bird of Grief," a grad student recovering from a broken relationship projects her anger and grief onto a new man, eventually coming to terms with letting go.Forgiveness" is a spare, stark story of two sisters, family violence, and the quest for forgiveness.In Heart," a woman meets her lover in a Paris hotel room and goes through a cycle of anxiety, worry, and the expectation that things will not work out, only to be surprised by the goodness that emerges.Poignant, surprising, funny and profound, and always perceptive and gorgeously written, Women in Bed is a rich collection of moving tales that will engage you from the first page.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 162 pages
  • 127 x 204 x 11.68mm | 185g
  • Stamford, United States
  • English
  • 1611880750
  • 9781611880755

Review quote

"What we do -- or don't or won't do -- for love, in all its incarnations, is at the fiercely beating heart of this stellar collection of linked stories. As exhilarating as love at first sight, and written in prose as clear and spare as a single bed, these stories linger, haunt and showcase the talents of a literary master." -- Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of PICTURES OF YOU and IS THIS TOMORROW "It is impossible to turn away from these beautiful and evocative stories. Jessica Keener explores the courage, vulnerabilities, and strength of women in every phase of life. No matter who you are, you will see a version of yourself illuminated in this poignant, powerful book." -- Jessica Anya Blau, author of THE WONDER BREAD SUMMER "Seductive, incandescent, suspenseful, and wise, WOMEN IN BED is a masterful collection that explores a landscape of intimate love, heartbreak, and desire. Keener's writing has a thrilling clarity. At once multifaceted and seamless, these stories map, with searing precision, the intricacies of the heart and those irrevocable moments on which a life turns." -- Dawn Tripp, author of GAME OF SECRETS and winner of the Massachusetts Book Award "Haunting and profoundly thought-provoking, the nine stories in Jessica Keener's WOMEN IN BED are probing, unflinching portrayals of self-reflection and redemption." -- Maryanne O'Hara, author of CASCADE, a People Magazine "Book Picks, 2012"
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About Jessica Keener

Jessica Keener has been listed in The Pushcart Prize under "Outstanding Writers." Her fiction has appeared most recently in: Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Night Train, and Wilderness House Literary Review. A recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist's Grant Program, and second prize in fiction from Redbook magazine, her feature articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, Design New England, O, The Oprah Magazine and other national publications. Her first novel, Night Swim was published to critical acclaim and was a national bestseller.
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Rating details

99 ratings
3.28 out of 5 stars
5 12% (12)
4 28% (28)
3 39% (39)
2 16% (16)
1 4% (4)

Our customer reviews

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I never quite know whether I like short stories or not. In some ways, I appreciate the snapshot-like aspect of the condensed story. On the other hand, I miss the extension, the detail, the closure of a longer, more resolved novel. Jessica Keener's Women in Bed contains nine stories about women and the relationships they have; with other women, with their families, with their peers and their superiors. Keener's writing style is distinctive throughout; much of the time the writing is almost disjointed, and gives the impression that the reader is floating through life alongside the protagonists. It's a strange experience, much like I imagine being inside the head of a character might be like, all broken thought patterns and emotion. However, the broken exposition could be frustrating, as it often wasn't clear exactly what was happening - although, perhaps that was what was intended, as a nod to how we often don't know how to make sense of our thoughts and actions. Sometimes I wonder if there are two kinds of writers; the storytellers and the photographers. Equally talented, but both writing a different story. Storytellers are masters of expanding a narrative and giving it a life of it's own. Photographers have the ability to capture a moment, or a period, in time; describing it in detail or with such truth that it is clear in the mind of the reader. A storyteller and a photographer could tell the same story in two completely different ways. Keener definitely seems more like the photographer-type. While I still like my short stories a little more fleshed out, so as to get to know my characters more broadly, Keener's collection was an interesting read; not just in topic but in writing style. A tribute to women, Women in Bed is a more a more existential, emotional read - if that sound like your cup of tea, definitely try it! http://annabelandalice.com/review-woman-bed-jessica-keener/show more
by Annabel Krantz
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