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Short Fiction
The View from Below
by Lindsey Crittenden

Price: $14.00
160 pages
trade paper
ISBN: 0922811407
LCCN #: 98-050586

The stories in The View from Below are deeply rooted in Crittenden’s sense of place—lyrically described natural as well as emotional landscapes. From the poppy-covered cliffs of her native Marin County to the skyscrapers of New York City, her characters explore the parameters of human connection, the risks of belonging, the promises and dangers of intimacy.

“You can’t count on happy endings,” Crittenden says. “These stories were formed in the experience of grieving—and of coming back to life.”

“Intricately detailed West Coast settings and a supple range of characters display the fragmentation of memory and how early bonds of love reverberate throughout a lifetime. Readers will appreciate the author's dexterity with imperfect intimacies and untidy emotions.”—Publishers Weekly

“It is human nature to deny that anything bad could happen to oneself or friends or family, but everyone experiences loss sooner or later. How deeply loss affects one's view of and relations in the world depends on how that loss is handled. In the nine short stories in The View from Below, Crittenden vividly captures feelings of loss and how they are handled by taking her readers into the lives of nine different people. Crittenden's style of writing, deep and penetrating, is honestly stark … but the protagonists' revelations—or lack thereof—are what make these stories so poignantly appealing to all who are interested in contemporary human drama. This debut collection is likely to haunt readers' thoughts for a long, long time.”—ForeWord

“Crittenden has an eye for what makes siblings one flesh and bone, for the pulse and rhythms that keep them together no matter what life has brought about to separate them. There are other separations, too: parents divorced, or dead, echoing down the days of the protagonists.”—Booklist

Crittenden's beautiful debut reminds us that lurking right beneath the implacable routines and best-laid plans of all of us are ghosts and stubborn memories, the dead and the longed-for. This is a world in which even letters that spell out our common words seem too unsteady, too fragile to sustain the sounds they suggest, much less the sum total of meanings. In the end, though, it is the heart's best reasons that triumph. This reader rises at the end and goes forth with a wise bliss.” —Katherine Vaz

“Most short stories begin with a predicament, or, if we're lucky, a character. Lindsey Crittenden's often begin with an occupation or a place—an unusual human environment which shapes, and also mirrors, the protagonists’ lives, at the deep level which verges on the unsayable. Here is a wonderfully lyric short story writer, who gives a new twist to the possibilities of the genre.” —Alan Williamson

“Lindsey Crittenden writes wonderful stories--sexy, lyric, beautifully crafted views of American life right now, the way it is.”—Max Byrd

“The View from Below is a stunning debut collection, fresh with emotional honesty and musical language. Lindsey Crittenden has a gift for describing communion—among brothers and sisters, children and parents, friends, lovers, neighbors. Her characters are real people, compelling in their search for integrity and adventure. Crittenden's themes of loss—death, exile, growing-up—are counterpointed with rich, revelatory moments of discovery. Few writers have explored the borders between loneliness and solitude with such grace and subtlety. She looks closely at place as well as at people and her descriptions of California landscapes and cultures are particularly original and evocative.”—Valerie Miner


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