Ann Patchett Recommends: Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing
Lydia Peelle’s short story collection is small; it slipped past me unnoticed in 2009. It’s small, but now I see its might. The best service to this book is to share a perfect paragraph from the opening story:
"At night, when he is sure his father is sleeping, he sticks the phonograph needle in a rubber eraser and holds the eraser in his front teeth. Carefully, with his nose inches from the record, he sets the needle down. With a hiss and crackle, the music reverberates through the hollows of his mouth and throat without making a sound in the room. Ignoring the cramp in his neck, this is how he listens to his favorite records night after night. Wild with thoughts of Eula with her hair like oil. Her snake charming eyes. Her long, fine hands. How she teases him. He dreams he finds pieces of his heart in the boot scraper at her door."
Of Peelle’s stories, Ann Patchett wrote “[they are] so artfully constructed and deeply imagined they read like classics.” I couldn’t agree more.
Lydia Peelle’s stories are bitter tea cut with honey. They are embers glowing at the end of an evening. They are humid summer days giving way to star-filled nights. I’ll return to these stories and wish I were finding them for the first time. They are the perfect send-off to my summer series. Ann Patchett recommends Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing, and so do I.
So proud to publish both of these writers, to share their beauty and genius with the world.