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article imageBook review: Jessica Keener's 'Women In Bed' Special

By Mindy Peterman     Aug 15, 2013 in Entertainment
Jessica Keener is a writer whose fiction has been listed in 'The Pushcart Prize' under 'outstanding writers' and whose stories have been published in numerous literary publications. Her short story collection 'Women In Bed' will be released in October.
As the title suggests, Women In Bed is a provocative set of nine stories in which women and a bed play a part. But its provocative bent comes more from these women’s inner turmoil, longings and needs rather than carnal acts. Are these stories interconnected? Perhaps.
Jessica Keener’s sparse yet crisp writing is ideal for the short story format. Most of her protagonists are lonely women, beaten down by someone or something and looking to rise out of the morass that has claimed them. But instead of pitying them, you might find yourself rooting for them to finally find what they are looking for.
In “Boarders”, Jennifer is torn between her waning feelings for her pianist boyfriend and her attraction for his devil-may-care friend. The elderly man who owns her boarding house adds to her fractured mindset by nosing into her business and doing his best to put restrictions on her lifestyle.
“Secrets” is the story of the unnamed waitress whose relationship with a daily patron takes a strange turn. The waitress wants the woman, who is at first nurturing and consoling, as a friend. But this woman, as the waitress soon discovers, enjoys playing mind games regardless how much they hurt.
“Recovery” is a disturbing tale of a woman’s struggles with a near terminal illness, no doubt inspired by Keener’s own bout with Aplastic Anemia.
“Heart”, the final story in the collection reveals an intriguing and clever twist that provides the best conclusion this set of stories could have.
At 119 pages, Women In Bed is a short read but the stories are memorable, deep and haunting.
To read more about Jessica Keener and her work, visit her website.
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