I Keep My Worries in My Teeth

Anna Cox. Little A, $24.95 (190p) ISBN 978-1-5420-4453-0
Humor and anguish coexist beautifully in Cox’s strange, irresistible debut about a group of women whose lives are disrupted after an explosion at a pencil factory in a small Ohio town in 1979. Esther, who works at the factory as a “MouthFeel Tester,” bites pencils and submits reports about the pencils’ strength and taste. She suffers from extreme anxiety, and biting things helps her cope. Frankie, teenage daughter of the factory owner, tells jokes to get attention. Her mother, Juliet, named her Frankie because she thought having a boy’s name would help her escape “the telescoping options of being a woman.” Ruth, a widow, runs a local photography lab, where she turns “negatives into positives.” The explosion triggers Ruth’s memories of the accident that killed her husband, while Esther roams the town looking for things to chew on, such as a wooden hammer handle, and Frankie, who was in the factory during the blast, recuperates in a hospital bed. Cox is a talented storyteller with a knack for mixing sublime prose with humor and violence, and her insights about love, family, and photography fill the narrative with bits of superb writing. Touching, clever, and hilarious, this is a notable debut. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/26/2020
Release date: 06/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-1-5420-4307-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-7997-1864-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-7997-1863-5
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