Winner oF The 2014 Iowa short fiction award, Heather A. Slomski's debut story collection The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons brings us a fresh new voice in literary fiction. In prose spare and daring, elegant yet startling, these stories drop their roots in reality, but take intermittent leaps into the surreal. Two couples meet for dinner to acknowledge an affair. A mannequin recalls a lover and the life she mysteriously lost. Two girls observe a young widow's grief through a cafe window. A man's hat has the power of Cinderella's shoe. In the fifteen stories that comprise this collection-some nearly novellas, others short as breaths-Slomski writes with a keen eye about relationships. About the desires that pull us together and the betrayals that push us apart. About jealousy, obsession, loneliness, and regret-the byproducts of loving someone that keep us awake at night. The characters in these stories share meals, drink wine, buy furniture and art.
They live domestic lives, so often wanting to love someone yet ending up alone. In one story, a woman's fiance leaves her when she goes to post some mail. In another story, a man can't move past an affair his wife almost had. Another story describes a series of drawings to piece together a couple's end. But while loss and heartache pervade these stories, there is also occasional hope. For, as the title story shows us, sometimes a breakup isn't an end at all, but the beginning of your life.
After earning her MFA from Western Michigan University, USA, Heather A. Slomski held the Axton Fellowship in Fiction at the University of Louisville, USA. Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, American Letters & Commentary, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, The Normal School, and elsewhere. A recipient of a Minnesota State Artist Initiative Grant and a Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant, she currently teaches writing at Concordia College, USA, and lives in Moorhead, Minnesota, USA, with her husband, their son, and their dog.