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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Laura Furman publishes short story collection 'The Mother Who Stayed'

Posted: January 31, 2011
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(text from the Simon & Schuster Web site)

Synopsis

In nine strikingly perceptive stories set miles and decades apart, Laura Furman mines the intricate, elusive lives of mothers and daughters—and of women who long for someone to nurture. Meet Rachel, a young girl desperate for her mother's unbridled attention, knowing that soon she'll have to face the world alone; Marian, a celebrated novelist who betrays the one person willing to take care of her as she is dying—her unclaimed "daughter"; and Dinah, a childless widow uplifted by the abandoned, century-old diaries of Mary Ann, a mother of eleven.

The Mother Who Stayed is an homage to the timeless, primal bond between mother and child and a testament that the relationships we can't define can be just as poignant, memorable, and inspiring as those determined by blood. Tender and insightful, Furman's stories also bravely confront darker realities of separation and regret, death and infidelity—even murder. Her vividly imagined characters and chiseled prose close the gap between generations of women as they share their wisdom almost in chorus: Although our lives will end, we must cherish the sanctity of each day and say, as did Mary Ann ages ago, "I done what I could."

Reviews

"There are no false notes anywhere in this collection….And although time's passing and the losses it brings is a prevailing theme, the stories are also suffused with a deep sense of what abides." —Booklist

"A nicely hewn collection of new stories.…Furman's prose ambles sinuously, in unexpected directions, and has a quiet, sure effect." —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Laura Furman was born in New York, and educated in New York City public schools and at Bennington College. Her first story appeared inThe New Yorker in 1976, and since then her work has been published in many magazines, including Yale Review, Southwest Review, Ploughshares, American Scholar, Preservation, House & Garden, and other magazines. Her books include three collections of short stories,two novels, and a memoir. She is the recipient of fellowships from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Dobie Paisano Project, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has received grants in residency at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and in 2009 she was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. She taught for many years in the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin. Series editor of The PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories since 2002, Furman selects the twenty winning stories each year. She lives in Central Texas.

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