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Includes the PEN/O.HENRY
Prize winning story,
“The Pelvis Series”
Fervent. Lyrical. Animistic. Incantatory…
Where the Long Grass Bends succumbs to no summary. This debut collection of stories is boundless, even boundary-less, because Neela Vaswani has, as David Garnett said of Virginia Woolf, “a mind that sticks at nothing.” In whirling, catch-me-if-you-can prose, Vaswani tells stories that subvert conventional narrative forms by employing Indian lore (from Hindu to Sufi), Gaelic fable, and historical legend. These are impossible tales, dreaming yet mired in the everyday grit of ordinary life, and told so beautifully that the beginnings and endings of reality and imagination disappear. Spare, fierce, and absolutely unpredictable, Where the Long Grass Bends is a delight of invention and language. Easy to hold onto but impossible to pin down, each story is an act of surrender, a folkloric revision similar to the achievements of Salman Rushdie, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Angela Carter, but unlike anything you’ve ever read.
A wonderfully intelligent collection, at once contemporary and magical. Vaswani’s voice is witty, sharp, innovative, and unique.
—Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of One Amazing Thing
Fierce and bold, these beautiful stories provide a highly kinetic exploration of sames and difference in terms of ethnic and racial origin. Through a romp of language—vital, outrageous, unpredictable—the fireworks of Neela Vaswani’ genius cast shadows and illumine psyches. Vaswani’s characters embrace their fates through such rigorous birthing that what has been internal finally contains and defines them.
—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife
The stories in Where the Long Grass Bends comprise an uncanny and beautiful symphony. This is a luminous collection where each fiction evolves its own mythology. I want to live in the world of these stories just as I am afraid of this beautiful and often dark world. Neela Vaswani’s Where the Long Grass Bends is lovely, strange, lyrical, and full of true mystery.
—Victoria Redel, author of Loverboy
“Vaswani’s unflinching eye shows the reader the beauty grounded in the mundane.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“[T]he stories of Where the Long Grass Bends enter places both marvelous and gratifying….Vaswani promises to become one of the most versatile writers of her generation.”
“Vaswani shows impressive range and a striking command of poetic imagery.”
“Surprising juxtapositions in content and in style abound… . An artist of the figurative, Vaswani is as skillful at description as Annie Dillard and as lean and economical as E. B. White.”
“Vaswani brings a refreshing new voice and perspective to the burgeoning field of South Asian American writing.”
“Vaswani is not afraid to take risks, although, by the end of each story, we realize she’s not taking risks at all; she’s merely telling the story as it absolutely must be told. … an eclectic collection that’s filled with powerful storytelling and poetic language.”
—The Florida Review
“This debut short story collection brings to life a sometimes fantastical group of characters whose experiences, countries, ethnicities, genders, and time frames widely range…. [T]he stories’ strength lies in the author’s gift for compelling, unusual yarns and excellent, zinging hooks.”
“Where the Long Grass Bends is a pastiche of stories so different from one another and so intelligent, the reader may come to believe that Vaswani, if not yet a master of different styles and genres, is certainly on her way to becoming one.
In these thirteen stories, Vaswani shows her incredible talent for folklore and the blending of perspectives, especially one’s perception of identity. The daughter of an Indian father and a mother with her roots in Ireland, Vaswani seems to have come away with the best of both worlds: a strong tradition of storytelling with no neat endings, and, in fact, often subverting traditionally held notions of who one is and where one comes from.”