Beth Goldner



In her first collection of short stories, Beth Goldner looks at loss-of love, of health, of life-through the lives of ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances.

The women of Wake are suffering--or have suffered--a profound loss, loss that has left them seeking renewal or perhaps just escape. Sometimes they long for a husband, a baby, a trinket, sometimes for something far more elusive.

In the title story, two sisters are slowly losing their parents to mental illness. In "Cardiff-by-the-Sea," a man who lost his sight in Vietnam is reborn through a new relationship with a daughter he didn't know he had. In "Plan B," a woman loses her husband to an affair with a much younger woman-and loses her grip on sanity at the same time. In "Outcomes," we meet a hospice worker who steals an inconsequential token from the patients she watches die, her own strange, unethical, but intimate ritual to the life cycle. This bravura performance from a fresh literary voice, bringing together a diversity of characters in various stages of life, will touch and surprise readers as it reveals some of life's smallest but most rewarding possibilities.