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the last jewish virgin
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the celibacy club
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This vibrant new collection of nineteen short stories by the two-time winner of the prestigious O. Henry Prize is by turns erotic, wildly funny, bawdy, and poignant. Eidus explores our contemporary obsessions: sex—both safe and not-so-safe; Prozac, the '90s drug of choice; Nautilus machine mania; the sinister attraction of vampires; film star James Dean; and rock 'n' roll icons Axl Rose and Elvis—all with dazzling range.

Janice Eidus' quirky characters seek trancendence in exotic ways, and they sometimes even find it. These unpredictable, up-to-the minute stories demonstrate that Janice Eidus continues to be " of the freshest and most idiosyncratic voices on the fiction frontier."

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   Balancing humor and depth, [these] 19 short stories reflect the quirky voice, at once cynical and sincere, that has made Eidus a two-time winner of the O. Henry Award....Eidus ultimately turns each story into a well-conceived, finely executed and deeply moving tale.
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

   THE CELIBACY CLUB is a sassy cultural studies dissertation, cross dressing as a collection of hip New York fairy tales. Eidus attends closely to the small moments—a shift from choice to decision, an exchange of habit for risk—in which individual evolution occurs. Eidus' nineteen stories range from spiritual parable to intellectual parody as she recruits a madcap cast of [characters]."

   [These] stories have a rare and raw excitement about them. They lull us into a kind of complacency and then grab us by the throat and shake us hard. They let us laugh ourselves right to the edge of terror. They are entirely impossible and deeply true, and in this contradiction they dazzle us, they stun us, they show us precisely where we live.
—Pam Houston, author of COWBOYS ARE MY WEAKNESS

   THE CELIBACY CLUB is a particularly rewarding demonstration of how Eidus weds acid irony to well-crafted prose. The 19 stories in this collection are brisk, bracing investigations of the female psyche....the title story, originally published in THE VILLAGE VOICE, is a subtle, sublime meditation on the importance of sex to the female ego."

   Janice Eidus can imagine a novel's worth of lives and events into one short story...In number of stories and spirit, this collection is a generous one...The comic stories are wittily dry and polished to a sheen, [while] the others explore unknown areas of the heart...

   Fiction Writer Janice Eidus [is one of] the "Top 10 Young Writers To Watch!"

   The true power of Eidus's writing is a brilliant imagination that can make every fantastic notion seem like an everyday reality.

   Eidus' strength lies in her ability to seamlessly move from one voice to another. Whether in the quirky humor of the story, ELVIS, AXL, AND ME, the youthful magic of THE MERMAID OF ORCHARD BEACH, or the devastating tragedy of PANDORA'S BOX, she writes with confidence and elegance.

   Eidus' powerful stories about men and women waging silent war against the culture have the eerie effect of waking us up even though we didn't know we were sleeping.

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