You May See a Stranger

E-book – $17.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3354-9

Trade Paper – $17.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3353-2
Publication Date
May 2016
Page Count
216 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9
ISBN
0-8101-3353-9

You May See a Stranger

Stories
Paula Whyman

Miranda Weber is a hot mess. In Paula Whyman’s debut collection of stories, we find her hoarding duct tape to ward off terrorists, stumbling into a drug run with a crackhead, and—frequently—enduring the bad behavior of men. A drivers’ education class pulsing with racial tension is the unexpected context of her sexual awakening. As she comes of age, and in the three decades that follow, the potential for violence always hovers nearby. She’s haunted by the fate of her disabled sister and—thanks to the crack cocaine epidemic of the ’80s, the wars in the Middle East, and sniper attacks—the threat of crime and terror in her hometown of Washington, D.C. Miranda can be lascivious, sardonic, and maddeningly self-destructive, but, no matter what befalls her, she never loses her sharp wit or powers of observation, which illuminate both her own life and her strange, unsettling times.

About the Author

PAULA WHYMAN has published stories in Ploughshares, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other literary journals. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. A native of Washington, D.C., she now lives in Maryland.
Reviews

Starred Review. "Whyman’s debut is an honest and sharply observed linked story collection, spanning the life of Miranda Weber from her teens through her late 40s. ... Themes of love, sex, politics, and family run through the collection, and every detail has satisfying echoes later on. Together, these smart, artful stories capture a woman’s life and the moments that define her." —Publishers Weekly

"This collection of linked short stories follows a woman named Miranda Weber from high school to middle age. Taken as a whole, the collection is a delicate balance of mundane moments and acute ones, often depicting instances 'in which everything seems, not perfect but imperfectly right.' The strongest stories deftly layer harshness over ostensibly happy events: a racially charged driver’s-education class where Miranda experiences a sexual awakening; a strained dinner with a thoughtless man she’s afraid to tell that she’s pregnant; and time spent with a disabled sister, whom she approaches with equal parts frustration and unconditional love." —The New Yorker 

“This funny, tough, clear-eyed collection of linked stories will take over your life, refusing to be put down until you’ve reached its last shattering sentence. Capturing the brutal minutiae of women’s lives, steeped in pop music, and fumbling toward spun candy visions of happiness, Whyman’s tales will simultaneously scare you and charm you, repel and seduce. My only advice: succumb.”  —Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year

"A deftly crafted series of consistently compelling tales from first page to last, You May See a Stranger clearly documents Paula Whyman's total master of the short story format. While very highly recommended for community and academic library Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that You May See a Stranger is also available in a Kindle edition." —Midwest Book Review 

"Paula Whyman’s radiant, urgent stories about the irresistibly frank Miranda Weber erupt with flirting and fury and sex. I’d follow her anywhere." Dylan Landis, author of Rainey Royal

"Paula Whyman has produced a powerful, poignant, and at times very funny collection of connected stories. There is something incredibly satisfying as we watch Miranda Weber grow older, but not that much wiser. Whyman captures her characters in all their foibles with startling precision. Indeed it seems as if she is playing a tough game of literary darts, and she hits a bullseye every time.” —Mary Morris, author of The Jazz Palace and Nothing to Declare

 “Not a false note. These stories are smart and edgy, surprising yet subtle. The characters are presented with much affection, no sentimentality and complete honesty.”Percival Everett, author of Half an Inch of Water
 

“Paula Whyman is that all-too-rare phenomenon in American fiction: a serious writer who happens to be funny. Miranda's withering objectivity toward the men in her life is hilarious and nicely balanced (also rare) by equally withering self-awareness, which hardly prevents her from making the same lousy choices we all make. Whyman's refreshing sensibility puts me in mind of a somewhat more erotic Lorrie Moore.”Blake Bailey, author of The Splendid Things We Planned

“Paula Whyman’s greatest talent is her ability to turn a life inside out and expose its hidden seams.  Her characters are masterfully human, funny and flawed and real, buried (as we all are) underneath an accumulation of moments and trying to figure out how to claim authorship of their own life stories.” —Carolyn Parkhurst, New York Times bestselling author of The Dogs of Babel 

"This collection of linked short stories follows a woman named Miranda Weber from high school to middle age. Taken as a whole, the collection is a delicate balance of mundane moments and acute ones, often depicting instances 'in which everything seems, not perfect but imperfectly right.' The strongest stories deftly layer harshness over ostensibly happy events: a racially charged driver’s-education class where Miranda experiences a sexual awakening; a strained dinner with a thoughtless man she’s afraid to tell that she’s pregnant; and time spent with a disabled sister, whom she approaches with equal parts frustration and unconditional love." —The New Yorker