Still No Word from You by Peter Orner

Still No Word from You by Peter Orner

$ 26.00

A new collection of insightful and intimate observations about books, stories, poems, and life by the author of Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism

On sale October 11, 2022  • ISBN:  9781646221363

Stationed in the South Pacific during World War II, Seymour Orner penned a letter every day to his wife, Lorraine. She seldom responded, leading him to plead in 1945, “Another day and still no word from you.” More than seventy years later, Peter Orner writes in response to his grandfather’s petition: “Maybe we read because we seek that word from someone, from anyone.”

Reading his mother's 1959 edition of Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind, he finds a single marginal comment from her: "YES." A brief poem by Robert Hayden about the destruction of a spider's web engenders thoughts about "how quickly something exquisite can become wreckage," but also that "there's no breaking free. . .from the contours of our lives." A story by James Alan McPherson about an old janitor who just wants to talk to someone reminds Orner of that strong desire: "Maybe something we say will stick and be remembered." Reading Yaakov Shabtai's novel Past Continuous leads him to think that "Minor characters don't know they're minor, until they do. And doesn't this, at some point, include us all?"

In Edward Lewis's The Pawnbroker a character says that he reads "to make it across the next half hour." The 105 pieces in Still No Word from You provide ample inspiration for those devoted to reading and will remind them of the importance of their own stories.

PETER ORNER is the author of the novels The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and Love and Shame and Love and the story collections Esther StoriesLast Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, and Maggie Brown & Others. His previous collection of essays, Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. Orner's work has appeared in Best American Short StoriesThe New York TimesThe New YorkerThe Atlantic MonthlyThe Paris ReviewGrantaMcSweeney's, and many other publications. He has been awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a two-year Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, as well as a Fulbright to Namibia. He's the Director of Creative Writing at Dartmouth College and lives with his family in Norwich, Vermont.