A graceful, moving new collection by the author of The Report
In these twelve stories, Kane poignantly explores our social relationships, our duties and responsibilities toward one another. A middle-aged woman, irritated with her wealthy young neighbor’s yard improvements, offers a corner of her lawn to a Croatian immigrant who wants a vegetable garden. A daughter accompanies her father to Israel, where, seeing a new side of him, she makes an unusual bargain.
In a collection about the difficult, sometimes impermeable boundaries between friends, neighbors, and family relations, Jessica Francis Kane questions just how close we can come to love, success, happiness, and forgiveness.
* Longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award
Inspired by real wartime events, this is the story of one spring evening during the Blitz.
No bombs fell that night, but in the surge towards the shelter of Bethnal Green tube station, 173 people lost their lives. An investigation into what happened during those few fatally confused minutes begins at once, but for the survivors, it will be years before truth can finally be disentangled from rumour, and guilt from grief. The Report is a provocative commentary on the way all tragedies are remembered and endured.
*A finalist for the 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction
*A finalist for the Indie Booksellers’ Choice Award
*A finalist for the Grub Street Book Prize for Fiction
*A Best Reads 2012 selection of the TV Book Club (UK)
*A Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection
“A smart and troubling novel of ideas, which explores the power of crowds, collective guilt and the compromises required to balance a need for full disclosure with the desire to be kind.” —The Financial Times
“Nothing less than perfect.” —Newsday
“Unflinching even as it is generous….a pageturner.” —National Public Radio
“Impressive debut… The Report is an artful piece of work. The story itself has an appalling fascination, while the restraint of the telling, in both its factual and fictional aspects, lends it considerable power.” —TLS
“Stunning novel….deftly makes a painful story whole by setting forth pitch-perfect portraits and tight scenes of candor between memorable, interlinked characters.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
‘Taut and psychologically astute examination of the human need for understanding…” —The Sunday Telegraph
“A spellbinding examination of the blame game and how individuals and communities grieve in times of tragedy.” —Vogue
“Bending Heaven is that rarest of debut collections: grounded but thoughtful, learned without being pretentious. Jessica Francis Kane’s stories take place in what feels like Lorrie Moore and Alice Munro country—they smartly uncork the heartache, panic and frustration of characters caught in situations that expose their vulnerability…. Bending Heaven feels like the work of a writer who has a lot more to say.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Jessica Francis Kane’s first short story collection appeals to the part of us interested in, or resonating with, the disillusioned and discontent…. [Her] sparse but poignant writing satisfies, and our intimate access to her characters and their heartrending stories will convince even the optimist that some sad stories need telling.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Kane exercises enviable restraint as she quietly brings these stories to a boil.” —BookForum
“If you love short stories, you’ll remember the first time you were seduced by something perfectly small and quiet. Maybe it was Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss,’ or Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants.’ Such seductive quiet is in Jessica Francis Kane’s debut collection, Bending Heaven.” —Dallas Morning News