Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award, Antonya Nelson's debut collection of stories displays the off-beat perceptions, the humor, and the sensibility that have won the author not only critical acclaim but a host of devoted readers. Most of the stories in The Expendables are about marriage -- marriage in process, about to be, about not to be anymore, possibly transgressed, and decidedly not transgressed. In the title story, a teenage boy participates in the spectacle of his sister's second marriage. In "Dog Problems," a husband muses about his wife's attachment to her dog, a bond that predates their marriage and will -- he fears -- outlast it. There is the woman in "Affair Life," happily encircled by her husband and child, who still must choose between her marriage and what is not quite yet an infidelity. Ranging in setting from Atlanta to Chicago and Kansas City, from the arid Southwest to the course of a river running through Colorado canyon walls, the stories in The Expendables show our relationship with destiny, whether resisted, invented, obeyed, or forced.
Antonya Nelson teaches creative writing at the University of Houston, and is the award-winning author of three novels and four short story collections. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and The Best American Short Stories. She divides her time among Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico.
San Francisco Chronicle Nelson pries at the tight and awkward knots of relationships, getting into places where tenderness and need are buried. Her eye is unflinching and her narrative touch subtle and precise.
Los Angeles Times A fine collection...compassionate and excruciatingly realistic.
Melissa Pritchard Chicago Tribune With edgy wit and sweet empathy, Nelson dissects conflict between contemporary men and women.
Raymond Carver We see what it is that the best young writers have to offer -- a kind of pizzazz, the love of undercurrent, of voyeuristic intensity, a bewildered fascination with ritual as it has been undermined in our time.