Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing: Stories

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Harper Collins, Jul 21, 2009 - Fiction - 208 pages
6 Reviews

With this first book of fiction, a gifted young writer brings together eight superbly crafted stories that peer deeply into the human heart, exploring lives derailed by the loss of a vital connection to the land and to the natural world of which they are a part.

"Mule Killers" evokes the end of an era and of a grandfather's dreams when he decides to replace animal power on his farm with tractors. Two restless young girls in "Sweethearts of the Rodeo" live out their last summer of innocence, riding ponies recklessly and spying on their boss and the wealthy women who visit him. In "Phantom Pain," the Tennessee woods are a sliver of what they once were, men now hunt with GPS and cell phones, and the rumor of a dangerous panther on the loose stirs up a small town.

An unexpected vision of the beauty and mystery of life redeems the darkest moments in this stellar debut collection, a book that readers will want to read and reread.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Miccosukee - LibraryThing

Dark at their center, these stories of exquisite longing are about seeking ways to belong to a larger world of nature and love, and finding other things instead. Deep but not self-conscious, beautiful but not precious, these stories satisfy in all the right ways. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LukeS - LibraryThing

I'm going against my policy here, and reviewing a book which I did not finish. The short stories in this collection share a good many qualities, for better and for worse. They all show that Ms. Peelle ... Read full review


Mule Killers
Phantom Pain
Sweethearts of the Rodeo
The Still Point
Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing
This Is Not a Love Story
Kidding Season
Shadow on a Weary Land

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About the author (2009)

Lydia Peelle is the author of the novel The Midnight Cool and the story collection Reasons For and Advantages of Breathing, which received an honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She received her MFA from the University of Virginia and has been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Ucross, Yaddo, and Ragdale. Peelle is a recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an O. Henry Prize, the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" honor, and a Whiting Award, as well as the Anahid Award for Emerging Armenian-American writers. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee. 

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