Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

Danielle Evans, Riverhead, $25.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-59448-769-9
The territory Evans covers in her debut collection may be small, but she owns it. Her main characters are almost all teen girls and young women who struggle with disorder, and the reader is given close access to each one's interior, from which the muted plots originate. "Jellyfish," one of the better stories, starts out with the plight of middle-aged William, whose roof has just collapsed, before settling on his adult daughter, Eva, and examining her life. The two friends in "Virgins," the opening and best story, maneuver unsteadily through the minefield of casually predatory men and boys. "Snakes" looks back on a consequential summer in the lives of two little girls. "The King of a Vast Empire" is the biggest departure from form and is narrated by good son Terrence, who frustratedly tells the story of his free-spirited sister, Liddie. The stories are beautifully observed, though their similarities in theme and voice make them better read individually than together. Evans has some great chops that would really shine with a little more narrative breadth. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/19/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-101-44347-7
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-101-43947-0
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-59448-536-7
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