The World Before Mirrors

Front Cover
U of Nebraska Press, Jan 1, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 148 pages
"What do you do for a living?" the podiatrist (or the photographer or the woman in the train station) asks, and Joan Connor answers, "I?m a writer," waiting with a cringe for the inevitable rejoinder: "Oh, boy, do I have a story for you!"

How such offerings, not stories but small reports from the thick of life, become rich reflections on the nature of waiting and writing, language and love, memory and hope, is the mystery of this award-winning collection of essays. Traveling between the poles of Ohio and Vermont, childhood and motherhood, Connor writes of a peripatetic family whose oddities make the quirks of a Thurber household seem downright subdued; of a thirteen-year-old son as an unlikely companion through the torments of middle-aged dating; of old loves and new; and through it all, of writing as a means of finding the shortest distance between two lines: hope. With language that distills insight from anecdote and transforms the stuff of middling life into telling metaphor, The World Before Mirrors, winner of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize, lifts the telling of a life?s stories into the realm of flight.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages


Sleeping With Thurber
My Son at Thirteen
The Waiting Room
Forsaken Places
Raising Abel
The World Before Mirrors
Bone Key
Abandoned Shoe
The Flying Rabbit and the Disappearing Playground
Tolstoys Daughter

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Joan Connor is a professor of fiction writing at Ohio University and a co-director of the University of Southern Maine?s Stonecoast MFA Program. Her third collection of short stories, History Lessons, won the 2002 AWP Award in Short Fiction. A recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Grant and a Pushcart Prize, Connor is also the winner of the John Gilgun Award and the Ohio Writer Award in fiction and nonfiction.

Bibliographic information