We Show What We Have Learned & Other Stories
A finalist for the PEN/Bingham Prize, Young Lions Fiction Award, and Shirley Jackson Awards
Joyce Carol Oates calls this debut author “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.
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Format: Trade paper with French flaps