The First Honeymoon: New and Selected Stories
Praise from Iron Twine Press for The First Honeymoon
We feel it is yet another special example of the sensitivity and ingenuity of this gifted artist.
I’d like to explain to you just what it is we here at Iron Twine Press like about The First Honeymoon, I think it gets at what is special about this collection of stories:
The edginess of Joyce Carol Oates; the ability, like John Updike, to extract human drama from the mundane, the suburban, the often-overlooked common experience; the twisting of form to the service of story, a la Alice Munro; the poeticism of Virginia Woolf; the quirk and off-beat humor of Richard Brautigan—all these elements come together in Lyn Coffin’s distinctive style.
Simply put, Iron Twine Press wanted to publish these stories because they are not like any stories we’ve read before. There are moments throughout the collection that remind us of the writers mentioned above, and it’s helpful to use those names to try to place these stories on the literary landscape, but on the whole these stories are unique. The voices are mature, characters who have lived and lost and are trying to regain what, after a lifetime, emerges as truly important:simple connection in friendship and in love, acceptance despite flaws, patience and honesty and grace.
The stories collected in The First Honeymoon often don’t feel like stories. That is to say, you won’t always find the patient narrator waiting at the door to guide you in to act as your tour guide, to feed you facts in a sequential order, to introduce you to everyone and make sure you’re comfortably situated as the show unfolds. These stories defy our expectations about how stories should come to us, how they should act. These stories have the feel of events into which we have tumbled unwittingly—at times, as though, at a restaurant, we were looking for the bathroom and stumbled into a banquet room hosting a family reunion and one person after another mistakes us for family and begins speaking to us; at other times as though we’ve broken into an apartment and are rifling through private correspondence, completely taken in by the intimacy and the urgency in the language of what we’ve found. Events unfold around us unexplained, and yet if we pause to think about what we’ve read, we realize that we don’t need an explanation; as human beings involved in our own searches for connection with others, our own searches for love, our own desires for acceptance, validation, forgiveness, we recognize exactly what is happening and we understand.
These stories are more than narratives which you read: that are moments that you live; you participate in them, you complete them, in the same way your eye completes a minimalist sketch of a face (a swooping line here, a dark line there, a dash—a nose, an eyebrow, a mouth).
You look at it, you relax into it, you see it. That’s what Iron Twine Press saw in Lyn Coffin’s work and that's why we wanted to publish The First Honeymoon: New and Selected Stories.
Iron Twine Press
What Readers Are Saying About The First Honeymoon: New and Selected Stories
Praise for Individual Stories in the Collection:
“Falling off the Scaffold has, in a sense, no characters at all, only the projected personaes of two people unknown to each other; yet it respects the contours of reality and gives us, in a most unusual form, a story about illusion and self-deception.”
–Joyce Carol Oates, from her Introduction to Best American Short Stories
“A Gift Horse stopped me in my tracks. Lay the book down, get a coffee, wander around the house thinking of it all day.”
–Thomas Hubbard, Author of Junkyard Dogz
Praise for the Collection as a Whole:
“Sexy, smartly engaging and quirkily off-beat, these stories are a delight to read and ponder.”
–Judith Roche, National Book Award-Winning Author of Wisdom of the Body
“Coffin’s fiction shows evidence of an original and delightful intelligence. Her lively and memorable characters speak as if they are possessed by forces slightly beyond their control, in voices brimming with wit, intelligence, cunning, and love. The structure of her stories unfolds with such grace that one forgets the skill it takes to produce such ‘effortless’ architecture.”
–Alice Fulton, Winner: American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature
“This is a smart collection of stories which depicts an array of strong voices. The infusion of poetry and drama in her prose expands our strict genre definitions. You can breeze through these and enjoy the ride, but readers who take time to savor the multiple layers will be richly
–Marilyn Stablein, Author of Climate of Extremes: Landscape and Imagination Text
“Like Oates, like Updike, Coffin gives us characters we recognize, in spaces that are familiar—a coffee shop, a bar. She masterfully reveals the small yet extraordinary moments which eventually become irrevocable fate. Fiction worth re-reading: witty, wise, deeply imagined.”
–Jed Myers, Author of Watching the Perseids
An Extraordinary Collection by a Master Storyteller. Lyn Coffin is a just
plain terrific writer. If you're looking for compelling and intimate glimpse into the magic of ordinary lives you can find none better. The stories in The First Honeymoon carry the reader through the minefields of intimate relationships so well that it's easy to forget what an incredible job of juggling emotional states and points of view you are seeing. From the opening "Gift Horse," the painful but somehow wonderful experience of a dying mother buying her child's last present, to the title story, where simple art in the face of pomposity simply cannot be ignored, to a funny and satisfying take on morality tales via "The Tortoise and the Hare," Coffin left me breathless. A must read for students of great writing, and for anyone who loves a great read.
Immediate in the way Cheever opens The Swimmer or O'Connor starts out with A Good Man is Hard to Find. Coffin's short stories are immediate. We are put squarely into the action between two lovers, estranged children, lost parents, mothers, daughters and incognito letter writers... immediate in the way Cheever opens The Swimmer or O'Connor starts out with A Good Man is Hard to Find. We instantly know the time, place and personae of the characters.
These stories take us to familiar spaces, emotions and poignant descriptions of awkwardness we nod along with. Coffin plays with point of view, fables and quick, trim sentences that construct story lines with just enough detail, pain, humor and imagination to make them stick. A satisfying short story is a fast moving one, and these start out fast and are masterfully paced. The variety in this collection is impressive, makes this reader wanting for a more comprehensive, edited compendium some day of Lyn Coffin's short works.
About the Author
Lyn Coffin is an award-winning fiction writer, poet, playwright, and translator. More than 20 books of her writing have been published, and her plays have been presented internationally. Her short stories have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies, including the Best American Short Stories. Her translation of the Georgian national epic The Knight in the Panther Skin (the first English translation to preserve the meter, the metaphor and poetic sensibilities of the 12th-century original) is available from Poezia Press in Tbilisi. Lyn has taught classes in fiction writing, poetry and translation at leading institutions and universities all over the world. Lyn holds an honorary PhD from the World Academy of Arts and Culture (UNICEF) "for poetic excellence and her efforts on behalf of world peace."
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