I picked up the book Big World by Mary Miller at the Hobart table at AWP in Denver several weeks ago. The book is a cool six by four inches small, like the size of a Dick Tracy book you had as a kid. It’s actually a collection of short stories. I’ve only read four or five of the eleven stories so far because they’re so good I keep reading the same ones over and over.
The ones I’ve read so far involve emotionally troubled but physically desirable young women. Their worlds have become small, most often as a result of a broken connection with a man (or two).
The female character in “Pearl” likes to read books with covers that have a girl sitting on the toilet staring at her shadow. In addition to being drawn into Mary’s writing, how funny that her character and I share the same taste in books! I had to add bookcases in my basement just to handle the overflow.
The story “Big World” has one of the best last lines I can remember. It has to do with a woman who feels abandoned by both her father and ex-husband. There is a good chance it will haunt you.
My hotel in Denver played a song in the elevator as it stopped at each floor. The song for my floor was Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.” I saw Tom perform at The MGM Grand in Vegas in 2006 and old women were throwing panties at him like he it was 1974. I was in Denver for four days, up and down the elevator, I don’t know, ten times a day; that’s at least forty “It’s Not Unusuals.” It was my first time at the huge writers’ convention, which was somewhat overwhelming, and frankly, I didn’t need the added stress of dodging panties every time I returned to my room.
I’m pulling for one of Mary’s girls to break through. As Tom says,
love will never do,
what you want it to,
but you have to keep trying. Maybe they just haven’t met the right man yet —they probably need one who purrs like cat while seducing women through song.
Big World can be ordered through the Hobart website at http://www.hobartpulp.com/minibooks/index.html
And check out Hobart while you are there as there is great online work and a print journal as well.