Throw Like a Girl – Stories
Here are twelve stories that take dead aim at the secrets of womanhood, arcing from youth to experience. Each one of Thompson’s indelible characters — lovers, wives, friends, and mothers — speaks her piece — wry, angry, hopeful — about the world and women’s places in it.
A master of short fiction whose “best pieces are as good as it gets in contemporary fiction” (Newsday), Jean Thompson follows her National Book Award finalist collection Who Do You Love with Throw Like a Girl.
“Thompson now has written as many story collections as novels (four and four, that is), and it is primarily as a first-rate story writer that her name is being made. Her latest collection, gathering an even dozen stories, extends the realization that she is a sensitive, humorous, very informed chronicler–no, singer–of ordinary people in ordinary towns who face ordinary life issues, primarily relationships in familial and sexual forms (in other words, situations in which we all find ourselves). But Thompson’s strength and attraction lie in her ability to spot the unique features of any of these situations. It wouldn’t be wrong to also call her the poet of these unglamorous lives, given her pithy, poignant, yet often beautiful prose style. “Lost” may not be the best story in the collection, but it is exemplary. From the vantage point of years later, a grown woman narrates in the first person (her voice pitch-perfect for her character) about when she was 20 and had a good time with a “bad” boy. Time has passed quickly for her: “That quick, there goes your life, like a black-haired boy on a motorcycle, looking back until he’s out of sight.”
— Brad Hooper, Booklist, Starred Review
“If there are ‘Jean Thompson characters,’ they’re us, and never have we been so articulate and worthy of compassion. These stories concrm that no one is beneath her interest, or beyond her sure and seemingly limitless reach.”
— David Sedaris
“Like Raymond Carver, Jean Thompson is fascinated by the sudden and unlikely communion of people. Her characters vary, but she never condescends to them, no matter how hungry their hearts are, no matter how many screws they have loose . . . Her fiction [is] a gold mine.”
— Jeff Giles, Newsweek
“Thompson is a writer of extraordinary intelligence and sensitivity.”
— Vince Passaro, O, The Oprah Magazine