We think about it every day, sometimes every hour: money. Who has it. Who doesn't. How you get it. How you don't.
Bender uses this very powerful force to pull together a unified collection of stories that deeply explore the ways in which money and the subsequent estimation of value affect the lives of her characters. The stories in Refund reflect our contemporary world - swindlers, reality show creators, desperate artists, siblings, parents - who struggle to figure out how to obtain money, how to give it, earn it, lose it, all the while trying to answer the question: What is the real definition of worth?
"Bender's short stories were shortlisted for the National Book Award and brilliantly weave money, economics, education, emotion, and fear into each distinct tale." (Washington Review of Books)
"The author's sharp observations and fine, crisp writing keep these stories crackling with energy and wit, while they excavate the buried secrets of 21st century America." (Miami Herald)
"Refund meets the challenge of the short-story writer — to create a vivid, believable world in which compelling characters pull the reader up and over a taut narrative arc, all within the space of a few pages. Taken separately, each of the Refund stories is an impeccably constructed miniature, a ship in a bottle that makes the reader wonder how the author got all that detail, all that craft, into such a small container. Taken as a whole, the collection is a 13-stop journey into some richly imagined worlds." (LA Times)
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