Reply All: Stories
Reply All, the third collection of award-winning and widely anthologized short stories, takes a humorous, edgy, and frank look at the human art of deception and self-deception. A father accepts, without question, the many duplicate saint relics that appear in front of his cave everyday; a translator tricks Magellan by falsely translating a local chief's words of welcome; an apple salesman a long way from home thinks he's fallen in love; a search committee believes in its own nobility by hiring a minority writer; a cheating couple broadcast their affair to an entire listserv; a talk show host interviews the dead and hopes to learn their secrets. The ways in which humans fool themselves are infinite, and while these stories illustrate this sad fact in sometimes excruciating detail, the aim is not to skewer the misdirected, but to commiserate with them and blush in recognition.
"Reply All is a thrilling collection: laugh-out-loud funny and achingly sad and deeply in touch with the profound humanity underneath the increasingly bizarre surface of our culture. And one of the basic great things about this book is that it brilliantly demonstrates the paradox of art: if you embrace the zeitgeist with compassionate humanity and finely observed detail, you end up writing a book that will endure. Reply All will endure." — Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain: Stories
"In this collection of stories, Reply All, Robin Hemley continues to be a literary phenomenon, dazzlingly incapable of one dull or inelegant thought, of anything less than a tender yet adamantine wit. No social vagary, no human yearning, theologic or profane, no human behavior, pathetic, comic or sublime, escapes Hemley's mercurial intellect or compassionate reach. Individually and cumulatively, the stories in Reply All charm us with their magnificent range. This is a polyphonic, wild, irresistible collection, grafted of divine madness and worldly grace." — Melissa Pritchard, author of Disappearing Ingenue, Late Bloomer and The Odditorium