October 25, 2016
Direct price: $14.35
Retail price: $17.95
5.5 x 8.5 with French flaps
Joyce Carol Oates calls debut author Clare Beams “wickedly sharp-eyed, wholly unpredictable . . . a female/feminist voice for the twenty-first century.”
The literary, historic, and fantastic collide in these wise and exquisitely unsettling stories. From bewildering
assemblies in school auditoriums to the murky waters of a Depression-era
health resort, Beams’s landscapes are tinged with otherworldliness, and
her characters’ desires stretch the limits of reality. Ingénues at a
boarding school bind themselves to their headmaster’s vision of
perfection; a nineteenth-century landscape architect embarks on his
first major project, but finds the terrain of class and power
intractable; a bride glimpses her husband’s past when she wears his
World War II parachute as a gown; and a teacher comes undone in front of
her astonished fifth graders.
As they capture the strangeness of being human, the stories in We Show What We Have Learned reveal Clare Beams’s rare and capacious imagination—and yet they are grounded in emotional complexity, illuminating the ways we attempt to transform ourselves, our surroundings, and each other.