“Robison has a poet’s eye for the unconscious surrealism of commercial America.” —The New York Times Book Review
Tell Me reflects the early brilliance as well as the fulfilled promise of Mary Robison’s literary career. In these stories—most of which appeared in The New Yorker throughout the eighties—we enter her sly world of plotters, absconders, ponderers, and pontificators.
Robison’s characters have chips on their shoulders; they talk back to us in language that is edgy and nervy; they say “all right” and “okay” often, not because they consent, but because nothing counts. Still, there are small victories here, small only because, as Robison precisely documents, larger victories are impossible. Here then, among others, is “Pretty Ice,” chosen by Richard Ford for The Granta Book of American Short Stories, “Coach,” chosen for Best American Short Stories, “I Get By,” an O. Henry Prize Stories selection, and “Happy Boy, Allen,” a Pushcart Prize Stories selection.
These stories—sharp, cool, and astringently funny—confirm Mary Robison’s place as one of our most original writers and led Richard Yates to comment, “Robison writes like an avenging angel, and I think she may be a genius.”
“Mary Robison’s short stories are short, subtle, and substantial… her ironic sense of detail bursts from every sentence.” —Vogue
“Word for fucking word, her work demands our attention.” —David Leavitt, The Village Voice