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Train Shots
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A single mother rents a fundamentalist preacher's carriage house. A pop star contemplates suicide in the hotel where Janis Joplin died. A philandering ex-pat doctor gets hooked on morphine while reeling from his wife's death. And in the title story, a train engineer, after running over a young girl on his tracks, grapples with the pervasive question--what propels a life toward such a disastrous end? Rendered in a style both generous and intelligent, the men and women at the center of these subtle stories are driven by their unusual predicaments and preoccupations. Rife with dark humor, Vanessa Blakeslee's debut story collection illuminates the idiosyncratic and the mundane in energetic, bristling prose that marks the arrival of a powerful new voice.
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"No one writes this good the first time out, do they? Train Shots is more than a promising first collection by a formidably talented writer; it is a haunting story collection of the first order. I was flat knocked out. Blakeslee's range and confidence are astonishing. I can't forget these beguiling and unsparing stories and I don't want to." -- John Dufresne, author of "No Regrets, Coyote" "cover copy" "'Train Shots' announces an outstanding new voice. Vanessa Blakeslee's stories traverse a trilling range of landscapes and voices, but no matter where her characters find themselves, their struggles with lost love and loneliness are authentic and engrossing and will not soon be forgotten." -- Laura van den Berg, author of "The Isle of Youth" and "What the World Will Look Like When All the Wa "cover copy" "In each of the eleven stories in "Train Shots," Vanessa Blakeslee immerses her readers in nuanced and impressively imagined worlds in which characters must choose between loyalty or justice, between sticking with it or giving up. This is a book populated with unforgettable, complex characters, each seeking, in one way or another, a cure for heart -- Christine Sneed, author of "Little Known Facts" "cover copy" "Vanessa Blakeslee's story collection 'Train Shots' is the literary version of a debutante's ball, a lovely introduction to a young writer just coming into her own." -- Douglas Glover, author "Elle" "cover copy"

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