Funny Once

Funny Once: Stories by Antonya Nelson

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I saw Nelson read from this collection of short stories at the Southern Festival of Books last year. They’re all in the contemporary realist genre, set in the midwest and southwest. A few of the characters are either teachers of writing or students in a writing class. They find connection in unexpected places. Their relationships with the people they “should” be close to are in the process of falling apart, while they feel close to people who are only tangentially connected to their lives–exes, former stepchildren, eccentric neighbors. Her characters are ordinary people with sometimes slightly sleazy problems. The final, longest story in the collection is about three grown children putting their dad in a nursing home. If you like short stories in this genre, these ones are funny and insightful.

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