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Parallel to Paradise: Addiction and Other Love Stories by Laura Newman
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Newman's stories encompass the human experience. They are about real people in real life...it is sometimes uncomfortable...but you have a compelling feeling to keep reading to the end.
Newman delivers story lines that are hard, controversial, and varied, but the writing style is consistently read-out-loud captivating. Collectively, the short stories in this book are nearly lyrical in description of place and time. Woven into often harsh themes are characters who are nothing less than human in a world that spins beautifully around them.
Twentieth Century centers on a young Catholic woman contemplating an abortion:
I like the taste of Communion. It does not taste like the body of Christ, which I imagine to be salted by His sweat and the spray of Galilee. It tastes like His clothes, a fine circle of linen. I don’t think it’s baked. I think nuns in big, white, French wimples weave it on a loom while singing, “Dominique, nique, nique”. I like to hold it in the top of my mouth for as long as possible and feel it melt like the rice paper around Chinese candy. One Sunday I touched it with my finger and my older sister made me walk home with my hand in front of me, touching nothing, until I washed my hands. Why can’t I touch the body of Christ?
Burning Man takes the reader to the ultimate anti-establishment festival:
We load up the Jeep and head for the Black Rock Desert because the Man is going to burn at midnight and we want to watch him go. We stop in Wadsworth at the Indian mini-mart that sells handmade doe-soft moccasins with little colored beads that tell a story on your feet. I can’t read the stories. They might say White Man Go Home.
Needle and Thread focuses on a mother who’s son is a heroin addict:
When Georgia was a child she ate her blanket. Thread by pink, blue, yellow thread until there was just a small plaid square left, which her mother saved, as you would save a lock of hair for remembrance.
If we could save our days, could they be like thread? Spools of silky-fine summer days. Rough days of lumpy hemp macramé, chunky with drift wood and shockingly bright feathers. Days of anger, reeling spirals of red. Lanky nights of sex running in inky blue skeins. Work days of wool. Bobbins, coils, whorls of floss, loomed together; if each day were a thread.
And more, equally compelling and controversial stories. Don't miss this book. Order early.
Parallel to Paradise:
Addiction and other love stories