Still Life with Plums is a vibrant collection of short stories that weave together the outwardly distant lives of several strangers. With heaping doses of dark humor and magical realism, these ten stories enliven a cast of characters scattered throughout the southern United States. From West Virginians to Texans to Latinos, Still Life with Plums mines the lives of a Black-Irish West Virginian, a wise-cracking dog groomer, a guilt-ridden ambulance driver, a Guatemalan widow, a Japanese-Latin American poster child for WWII reconciliation, and a meticulous predator. Marie Manilla's accessible prose is powerful and richly layered as she births a quirky ensemble that unflinchingly probes the human psyche.
"Marie Manilla’s Still Life With Plums houses in its pages a repository of heartache and joy. Its soul lies in life’s little moments, somehow still yet perpetually fleeing. Manilla’s words take flight in the mind and dance 'like paper birds in the wind.' Inevitably, the words will root inside the reader, like the memory of a fossil or a Polaroid picture, and once there, they will cease to be still. Just as the people in these stories, they will keep on humming."
—Glenn Taylor, author of The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart
"This mesmerizing collection of stories is full of my favorite things: brilliantly vivid characters, rich cultural textures, bleak humor and surprising story turns. Manilla weaves a kind of literary magic that kept me reading late into the night." —Zoë Ferraris, author of Finding Nouf
"Any reader who cares about mature, intelligent, graceful storytelling should be thinking very seriously about getting Still Life with Plums into their life—buy it, download it, check it out of the library—whatever it takes to be able to read and savor and learn from Marie Manilla's fine and resonant stories."
—Richard Currey, author of Fatal Light and Lost Highway
"This is an accomplished collection, displaying a variety of voices, settings, conflicts, and surprising resolutions. The writing is sure, and the stories demonstrate a writer who is confident in her vision."
—Kevin Stewart, author of The Way Things Always Happen Here
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