By turns electrifying and haunting, the stories in Nelly Reifler's debut collection, now available in paperback, imagine a world where the emotional logic of dreams and childhood fantasies rules our actions.
In the title story, an educated young woman sits behind the glass of a talk booth in a peep show and becomes a different girl for each man who visits. "The Splinter" posits a thorn in a little girl's scalp as the physical locus for a father's wrenching grief and helplessness following his wife's desertion. In "Teeny," an awkward, pubescent girl can't bring herself to perform the simple task of feeding the vacationing neighbors' cats. In "Baby," an infant asks his mother existential questions that are impossible to answer.
Exploring her characters' psyches with the precision of an anthropologist, Reifler illuminates physical urges, crippling fears, stark isolation, and overwhelming, often transgressive desires. Through it all, the author plumbs the deep chasm between expectation and reality with boundless hope, warmth, and wisdom.
Nelly Reifler has published stories in magazines such as Bomb, Black Book, Post Road, Exquisite Corpse, and The Florida Review, as well as the anthologies 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11 and Lost Tribe: Jewish Fiction from the Edge. A Rotunda Gallery grant recipient and MacDowell Fellow, she received the Henfield Prize for two of the stories in this collection. Her plays have been performed in the United States and Australia, and she currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Brooklyn.