Bargains in the Real World: Thirteen Stories

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Random House Publishing Group, May 15, 2001 - Fiction - 240 pages
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In this finely crafted collection, acclaimed writer Elizabeth Cox examines the lives of common people and how they deal with life when uncommon things happen to them — how they accept their fate, sometimes choosing to move on, sometimes not. The stories, many set in the South, deal with questions of loyalty, betrayal, discovery, sexuality, death, birth, and the inner dynamics that drive the choices we make. The characters struggle with a complex mixture of kindness and violence, and their final choices reveal a flawed but finally compassionate humanity.

Elizabeth Cox has an extraordinary talent for inhabiting her characters and capturing place, sense, and time. This commanding group of stories will prove unforgettable.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Three-time novelist Cox (Night Talk, 1997, etc.) offers 13 stories with familiar Southern Gothic topics—child abuse, brain damage, race relations, absent fathers, fate, and free will—but her ... Read full review

Bargains in the real world: thirteen stories

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

There is an old-fashioned sensibility to Cox's storytelling. Bucking contemporary trends in fiction that rely on pop-culture references and shock value, Cox's gentle prose evokes a Southern warmth ... Read full review

Selected pages


Title Page
Old Court
Land of Goshen
The Last Fourth Grade
Snail Darter
O Tannenbaum
A Sounding Brass

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About the author (2001)

Elizabeth Cox is the author of three novels, Familiar Ground, The Ragged Way People Fall Out of Love, and Night Talk. She is a recipient of the O. Henry Award for short fiction. She teaches writing at Duke and Bennington and makes he home in Littleton, Massachusetts. She has a son and daughter and is married to Mike Curtis, fiction editor at The Atlantic Monthly.

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