Drowning Lessons

Stories by Peter Selgin

Stories that explore water's presence as both a vital and potentially hazardous element in our lives

Reviews

"A wine-dark blood rushes through the pages of Drowning Lessons. Tap a vein and drink deeply and taste the best and the worst kind of love. In these pages you will experience lust, spite, jealousy, fidelity, rose-flavored romance, and doe-eyed affection, sometimes all in the same story. Thank goodness for Peter Selgin, who shares with us the mysteries of the human heart in this electric, revealing collection."
—Benjamin Percy, author of Refresh, Refresh

"A stellar collection deserving recognition. Selgin possesses a mature, complex voice and is able to conceptualize, compose, and perfect stories of brilliant diversity and tone. High emotional intelligence, empathy, courage, and intellectual curiosity fuel this collection, giving it a rare narrative fire beyond the obvious and admirable excellence of craft."
—Melissa Pritchard, author of Late Bloomer


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Description
The stories in Drowning Lessons engage water as both a vital and a potentially hazardous presence in our lives. "You can touch water," says Peter Selgin, "you can taste it and feel its temperature, you can even hold it in your hands. Still it remains elusive, ill-defined, shaped only by what surrounds or contains it."

With empathy and wit Selgin introduces us to characters navigating the choppy waters of human relationships. In "Swimming" an avid swimmer fights the stasis in his marriage by prodding his out-of-shape but contented wife to take up the sport—with near-disastrous results. A pond is the setting of "The Wolf House," which tells of the reunion and dissolution of a group of high school friends brought together for a funeral. "The Sinking Ship Man" chronicles a day in the life of an African American caretaker in charge of the only remaining survivor of the Titanic disaster. In "El Malecón" a toothless old Dominican tries to recapture his lost dignity by "borrowing" a shiny Cadillac convertible and aiming it down the coastal highway toward his childhood village. In "The Sea Cure" two travelers in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula confront death in the form of a mysterious woman living in an abandoned beachfront apartment complex.

In all thirteen tales in Drowning Lessons, Selgin exhibits a keen eye for the forces that push people toward—and sometimes beyond—their very human limits, forces as intrinsic, elemental, and elusive as the liquid that makes up two-thirds of their bodies. These stories remind us that of all bodies of water, none is deeper or more dangerous than our own.

Series/imprint:
Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

Page count: 250 pp.
Trim size: 5.25 x 8

 

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Cloth
List price:
978-0-8203-3210-9
10/15/2008
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Paper
List price:
978-0-8203-3819-4
3/1/2011
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Ebook
List price: $19.95
978-0-8203-3969-6
3/1/2011
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Peter Selgin's recently published novel, Life Goes to the Movies, was a finalist for both the AWP Award and the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. He is the author of two books on writing craft, By Cunning & Craft and 179 Ways to Save a Novel, and has a forthcoming memoir in essays, Confessions of a Left-Handed Man.