Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night is a spirited, offbeat collection of stories, elongated riffs on that thing we call...love. All manner of love stories: thwarted love stories, imaginary love stories, love stories offhand and obsessive, philosophical love stories, erudite and amusing love stories.
"People don't meet because they both like Burmese food," says one character, "or because someone's sister has a friend who's single and new in town, or because Billy's nose happened to crook just slightly to the left at an angle that made me want to weep...People don't fall in love with each other...they just fall into love."
Everyone does it: women of fierce independence, men of thin character, rambling Deadheads, gay teenage girls, despondent Peace Corps volunteers, anorexic Broadway theatre dancers, the eager, the grieving, the uncommunicative. Even the confused do it. And they don't just fall in love with each other - they fall in love with certain moments and familiar places, with things as ephemeral as gestures and as evanescent as sunlight.
Quirky, real, idealistic, deluded, bohemian, and true, these are people who can - and often do - fall in love with a pair of ears, August afternoons, saucers of vitamins, New Age carpenters, and dead bumblebees. And if there's something they can teach us, it's how to conceive of alternative worlds and the terror and the exhilaration of venturing outside the confines of the lives we know and making our way into a dark, glittering unknown.
Winner of Iowa Short Fiction Award.
"...an awe-inspiring collection of short stories." (Austin Chronicle)
"There is great originality and great freedom in Thisbe Nissen's approach to her subject, a kind of classicism in her lucid and compassionate interest in the ways of this present world." (Marilynne Robinson)
"Nissen as an assured writer whose wide-ranging interest in varied people and life situations creates lively fiction." (Publishers Weekly)
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University of Iowa short fiction awards