Nine richly varied, often funny, always moving stories that reveal the complex workings of the human heart.
Bill Roorbach conjures vivid characters whose layered interior worlds feel at once familiar and extraordinary. He first made his mark as the winner of an O. Henry Prize for the title story of Big Bend, his first collection, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award. His new collection, The Girl of the Lake, captures a virtuoso in his prime.
Roorbach’s characters are unforgettable: among them an adventurous boy who learns what courage really is when an aging nobleman recounts history to him; a couple hiking through the mountains whose vacation and relationship ends catastrophically; a teenager being pursued by three sisters all at once; a tech genius who exacts revenge on his wife and best friend over a stolen kiss from years past.
These moving and funny stories are as rich in scope, emotional, and memorable as Bill Roorbach’s novels. He has been called “a kinder, gentler John Irving... a humane and entertaining storyteller with a smooth, graceful style” (the Washington Post), and his work has been described as “hilarious and heartbreaking, wild and wise” (Parade magazine), all of which is evident in spades (and also hearts, clubs, and diamonds) in every story in this arresting new collection.
About the Author
Bill Roorbach is the author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Flannery O'Connor Prize and O. Henry Prize winner Big Bend; Into Woods; Temple Stream; and most recently, the bestselling Life Among Giants. The 10th anniversary edition of his craft book, Writing Life Stories, is used in writing programs around the world. His work has been published in Harper's, the Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, the New York Times Magazine, Granta, New York, and dozens of other magazines and journals. Life Among Giants was an Editor's Pick for Amazon's Best 2012, a Shelf Awareness Top Ten Best Fiction for 2012, and a winner of the Maine Literary Award for Fiction.
“A stellar collection of stories from one of our best writers. Roorbach's wild imagination combined with his brilliance as a storyteller, his relentless humor, and his tender understanding of humanity make The Girl of the Lake compulsive and essential reading.”
—Lily King, author of Euphoria
“Each meticulously chiseled-down and polished tale contains enough plot, character development, and emotion to fill a novel . . . These stories, with their smart and funny dialogue, characters both wise and fallible, are sure to capture the reader’s imagination, and heart. For fans of Richard Russo and Russell Banks.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Bill Roorbach knows so well how to break your heart, how to make you fall in love, how to see you well through both and feel so much the greater human being for it all. What a wonderful writer, what a beautiful book.”
—Brad Watson, author of Miss Jane
“The ten generous, daring short stories in the new collection by the author of Life Among Giants range from tricky romance to dark comedy to breathtaking adventure . . . Suggests comparisons with Alice Munro . . . Roorbach’s cunningly crafted stories start off ordinary, and then turn magically strange.”
“I am so grateful for the imagination and heart and cleverness and worldliness that went into the making of these stories. Bill Roorbach's is an amazing fictional landscape, vastly unfathomable, also poignantly familiar. This is a terrific book."
—Antonya Nelson, author of Funny Once
“Elegant, assured short stories . . . Roorbach writes in unadorned, vigorous language . . . Readable entertainments that have much to say about the world.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review