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Happy or Otherwise
Diana Joseph

Carnegie Mellon Short Fiction Series

Carnegie Mellon
2003 • 208 pp. 5 x 8"
Short Stories - Single Author

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-88748-396-7

The debut collection of short stories by Diana Joseph.

The people in Diana Joseph's Happy or Otherwise are looking for ways to live through hurt, some of it passed on like a family heirloom, some of it self-inflicted. Tabbitha, the adult daughter in "Bloodlines," recounts her brother's death and her grieving father's violent response to it. Her memory is compassionate, but unflinched as she reflects on how, even twenty years later, "you don't forget." In "Windows and Words," Leslie, a college senior, falls for a guy who "used philosophy as a form of foreplay." In turn, she decides, "Acting on desire is just another way to procrastinate." The book also explores how people define themselves through the stories they tell: the title character of "Schandorsky's Mother" is writing a poem that "chronicles her relationship" with the father her son has never known. "So someday you'll understand," she tells the puzzled boy. In "Approximate to Salvation," a daughter's claim that a stranger raped her covers up a painful truth: her father's attempt to seduce her. The tales concocted by the narrator of "Naming Stories" reveal her intense longing for a sense of self: "Sometimes, I told this story," she says, "I was conceived at Woodstock, in the rain, the music, the mud, on the night of a full moon." Another character, Sookey, in "Expatriates," believes "confessing would feel like love." With prose that is sharp, lyrical, and image-driven, Happy or Otherwise is a fierce book with a lot of funny parts.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"Diana Joseph's debut collection is a mix of captivating voices. These are characters readers will love, hate, admire, and despise. Joseph writes with humor, passion, and respect for the craft. To read these stories is to experience empathy for humanity."—Gordon Weaver, author of Long Odds

"Diana Joseph's stories are ripe with nuance. Her domestic landscape, while intimately scaled, contain every typographical feature found in the most rugged mountain chain. In her hands, a minute gesture of separation reads as vibrant as the most dramatic continental divide."—Michael Martone, author of The Blue Guide to Indiana

"Who will save you? In Diana Joseph's stunning collection, this question burns at the heart of every story. the child who rescues his older sister grows up to be a man who seduces his daughter. A woman who cannot bear to part from her son fro the summer dopes him with cough syrup to steal a night of peace and passion with her new lover. Through all her people—an Amish boy, and Italian father, a motherless girl—Diana Joseph exposes the desperation and humor of our human desires. She leads us into the wilderness where the search for love tempts us to commit the most intimate betrayals."—Melanie Rae Thon, author of Sweet Hearts and First, Body

DIANA JOSEPH was born and raised in western Pennsylvania. She bussed tables in a smorgasbord, worked at a pizza parlor, in a strawberry field, a pallet shop, a public library, and as a waitress and short order cook. She currently lives in Grand Junction, Colorado, where she edits Pinyon Press and teaches creative writing at Mesa State College.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:06:34 -0500