Join us at City Lit Books on Friday, May 17th, 2019 at 6:30 pm for reading from What Some Would Call Lies: Noevellas with author Rob Davidson. Rob will be in conversation with author Janet Burroway.
If personal memory is false, what happens when you try to construct a memory of something that you don’t remember but should—that you desperately want to remember? What Some Would Call Lies is a collection of two literary novellas meditating on life, art, and the vicissitudes of memory.
“Shoplifting” is the story of Monica Evans, an aspiring author, a young mother struggling to raise a toddler, a neglected wife juggling a long-distance marriage, and a woman grieving her sister’s death. In an attempt to come to terms with this most recent loss—and to jump-start her stalled artistic life—Monica decides to write her late sister’s autobiography in the first person. This decision angers and confuses some readers (including her mother), but it pushes Monica toward healing. Reminiscent of the work of Alice Munro and Lorrie Moore, “Shoplifting” is by turns witty and wistful.
In “Infidels,” an unorthodox substitute teacher awakens sixth-grader Jackie Rose’s floundering sense of focus and ambition. At the same time, an alluring older girl initiates him into the world of desire and longing. Meanwhile, Jackie’s parents are moving toward an inevitable separation, and Jackie will face hard choices. Set against the backdrop of an upper Midwestern childhood in the 1970s, steeped in the lingering anxiety of the Cold War and the comforting nostalgia of pop radio, “Infidels” is a classic coming-of-age story with an unforgettable, heart-breaking ending.
“In the two wondrous novellas that make up What Some Would Call Lies, Rob Davidson plumbs the recesses of domestic life as played out in the colorful but uncelebrated towns and cities of the American interior. With candor and compassion, these stories honor the enduring bonds of family relationship even as they unmask the fundamental solitude that is each person’s burden in life. An elegant, magical book that manages to explore human isolation while making the rapt reader feel considerably less alone.”
—Naomi J. Williams, author of Landfalls: A Novel
Rob Davidson’s previous books include Spectators: Flash Fictions (Five Oaks, 2017), praised by Kirkus Reviews as “A small but mighty collection of textual snapshots… Flash fiction at its best that’s definitely worth a look.” Davidson’s fiction, essays and interviews have appeared in Zyzzyva, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Indiana Review, New Delta Review, South Dakota Review, and elsewhere. His honors include a Fulbright award, multiple Pushcart Prize nominations, and an AWP Intro Journals Project Award in fiction. He teaches creative writing and American literature at California State University, Chico.
Janet Burroway is the author of plays, poetry, children’s books, and eight novels including Pulitzer nominated The Buzzards; Raw Silk, Opening Nights, Cutting Stone (all Notable Books of The New York Times Book Review), and the 2009 Bridge of Sand. Plays include Sweepstakes, and Medea With Child, Parts of Speech and Headshots, which have received readings and productions in Chicago, New York, London, San Francisco, Hollywood, and various regional theatres; Her Writing Fiction, now in its tenth edition from University of Chicago Press, is the most widely used creative writing text in America, and Imaginative Writing is in its fourth edition. Her children’s book The Giant Jam Sandwich has been translated into twenty languages and scored for orchestra. Winner of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the Florida Humanities Council, she is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Emerita at the Florida State University.