I Have the Answer


Product Details

$19.99  $18.59
Wayne State University Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 0.5 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Kelly Fordon is the author of an award-winning short story collection, Garden for the Blind (Wayne State University Press, 2015); a poetry chapbook, The Witness, which won the Eric Hoffer Award for the Chapbook; and a poetry collection, Goodbye Toothless House.


With this surprising collection of stories set mostly in Michigan, Kelly Fordon takes her place among our most compassionate, insightful, and wry observers of contemporary American life. These are stories of mothers and daughters, wives and widows, rendered in prose that is at once poetic and plainspoken, with genuine heart and a connoisseur's eye for the absurd.-- (12/12/2019)
In Fordon's gripping collection of stories about characters on the edge, we witness what happens when life deals a blow-divorce, addiction, empty nests, dementia, death-and they are forced to face the biggest unknown: themselves. In each pitch-perfect story, Fordon takes us to the precipice where trauma and triumph are equal possibilities. The people in these stories are so hauntingly real that long after I put down this book, I found myself wondering what became of them.-- (12/12/2019)
Kelly Fordon's I Have the Answer is a remarkable, penetrating, and moving collection that explores what it means to be a good neighbor, a good parent, a good spouse, and a good human being. From New Guinea during the Second World War to suburban Michigan of today, Fordon maps the contours of the heart with an exquisite delicacy and a generosity of spirit entirely unequaled in American fiction. Rare is the author who can bring so much genuine compassion to her characters, despite all of their foibles and flaws, and rarer still the writer who can entertain us immensely as we follow her beloved creations. I Have the Answer exudes emotional truths, as certain as they are surprising, on every page.-- (12/12/2019)
Fordon's stories hold up a mirror to our shared humanity, breathing three-dimensional life into her characters through a rotating prism of joy, tragedy, triumph, and heartbreak. This collection joins the ranks of such illustrious contemporary short story writers as Alice Munro, Jeffrey Eugenides, James Salter, and Aimee Bender.-- (12/12/2019)
Fordon's talent is powerful, unmissable. Her stories are absurd and also deeply true. She can shift from amusing to heartbreaking in a moment and leave you with goose bumps. Whether it is a war story relayed by an Alzheimer's sufferer, or a reluctant therapy group member trying to expose a phony-these stories might make you cry but they'll make you laugh first.-- (12/12/2019)
Like all bold, transcendent fiction, the stories in I Have the Answer end up answering intimate conundrums about love, identity, and relationships with ever more complicated questions. Fordon's characters don't seek to understand their lives so much as find a way to tell a different story about both the past and the future. Vanished husbands are re-imagined as pale images of the men they once were. Teens on the cusp of adulthood grapple with phantom limbs and the true meaning of exorcism and faith. To their skeptics' surprise, 'crazy' characters who claim to have all the answers actually prove they do. Throughout these stories, Fordon's sly humor about middle-class perks-Costco, grocery delivery services, trendy psychotherapy, binge shopping-bind together the women who both rue and rely upon these props. Fordon's deft, lyrical writing and gentle yet pointed comedy create endearing, realistic characters looking for the very answers the reader hopes to find.-- (12/12/2019)
In a narrative voice that is stunning and pristine, Kelly Fordon's I Have the Answer presents characters who suffer in a self-made darkness of secrets, desires, and longing. While going through the motions of their suburban lives, they are at the mercy of the unraveling of normalcy. In each story, we are reminded that underneath the facade of having it all, nothing is simple or easy.-- (12/12/2019)
What a great collection! Again and again, Kelly Fordon's characters charm and disarm us as they face death, divorce, the departure of a maddening child, a diagnosis of dementia, and even molestation. As the world crumbles, they must ask themselves the question, How do I live now? In these big-hearted stories, the answer is to be found in life itself, in living as an act of courage, and living as an art form. Like Lorrie Moore, Fordon proves that comedy is a worthy opponent of tragedy. Times are hard-they're always hard-so read this book and you'll feel better!-- (12/12/2019)
I followed Kelly Fordon's characters with love and tears through their 'lifetime of drift' until they connected emotional dots and arrived at an answer that allowed them to summon their internal superhero with all the clarity and energy at their command. These are stories of hope.-- (12/12/2019)
Kelly Fordon is a smart and generous writer, and her stories are full of perception, wit, intelligence, and a startling visionary air. This is a collection that engages from first page to last.-- (12/12/2019)
Reading I Have the Answer by Kelly Fordon made me more keen to get to know my neighbor. Because just like me, she is living a life to the best of her ability and her story matters. [. . .] This short story collection is a simmering display of adulthood and the challenges people face around us in silence and in shame. It is incredibly human and eloquently full of emotional truth. Some of the stories force you to stop dead in your tracks and bear witness with your whole, entire body.-- (03/17/2020)