Help Wanted: Female

Sara Pritchard. Etruscan (Consortium, dist.), $15 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-0-9832944-8-1
Pritchard (Crackpots) delves into the “ordinary twill of life” in this engrossing new collection of stories chronicling the underemployed and underchallenged of Morgantown, W.Va. In the two-part title story, dead-broke Wendy, who never outgrew the game of dress-up, responds to her lecherous boss, “Little Big Man,” by dressing in a series of ludicrous costumes and donning a button that reads, “There’s That Smell Again.” In “The Old Laughing Lady,” Bunny faces the knowledge of her ex-husband’s secret family by growing invasive kudzu that engulfs the neighborhood “with the stealth and speed of a virus.” Homeless “sojourners,” with names like Prophet Zero and the Green Man, serve as a subtle chorus across these stories, shifting in the peripheries of protagonists’ lives. Green Man is a pseudonym for 52-year-old Archer, a self-described “urban Thoreau,” who secretly lives in the basement of university press copy editor Rae-Jean. Down there, Green Man naps, plays with Rae-Jean’s dogs, and reads her books (he’s particularly taken with Foucault), until the 18 flea bombs that Rae-Jean sets off one morning blow her house to smithereens. The free associations of Prophet Zero, a “magnificent homespun orator” with a “melodious Barry White” baritone, enter the workplace vernacular of Marcie’s office, and worm their way into her office affair. Full of cutting humor and empathy, if occasionally too precious, Pritchard’s new collection is a worthy, often very funny read. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/10/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
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Ebook - 220 pages - 978-0-9839346-7-7
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