Bitter, joyful, worn down, filled with wonder, acutely self-aware, and often deeply in need of perspective—such are the women at the center of Mary Jane Myers' compelling debut short story collection. Lonely and stuck in lives that have begun to feel stale, these ordinary women—administrative assistants, typists, accountants—awake unto themselves after brushes with the surreal. While light and playful in tone, the stories reflect the hollowness and toxicity that can come from ascribing too strictly to the popularly held values of our contemporary society and the confusion caused by wobbly religious beliefs in a secular world.
Louise, an unassuming tourist, is accosted in a museum in Florence by the voice of Galileo’s finger bone promising to grant her greatest wish in return for a simple favor. Diane narrowly escapes a toxic relationship and sinks into a depression when she becomes convinced the gods are speaking to her through a stone from the lava fields of Maui. Helen, who has always wanted someone with whom to appreciate classical music, ends up playing host to Franz Schubert, when she meets the young composer wandering in the woods near her home in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Witty, revelatory―and at times chilling―Curious Affairs allows us to see the strangeness in the ordinary.
“Mary Jane Myers skillfully paints the many shades of loneliness: the absence of romantic love, of child, of family comfort, even of spiritual connection to the divine. Her characters poignantly seek relief from self-imposed internal exile, frequently turning to magical confidants—a talking gecko, a Catholic relic, a transmigrated Franz Schubert. Myers blends realism with magical realism, Victorian romance with the religious-inspirational story, historical fiction with fairy tale. A highly thought-provoking collection.” —Daniel M. Jaffe, editor of With Signs and Wonders: An International Anthology of Jewish Fabulist Fiction and author of The Genealogy of Understanding
“The personal, the artistic, and the spiritual collide with small, perfect explosions in these entrancing stories. Mary Jane Myers writes with great subtlety and poignancy, offering plenty of delights and surprises.” —Ross King, author of Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies
“The stories in this collection are little symphonies that traverse oceans, continents, and other dimensions, and the lucky reader gets swept up into these beautifully polished words and worlds.” —Kerry Madden-Lunsford, Director of Creative Writing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and author of Offsides, the Maggie Valley Trilogy of children’s novels, and Up Close Harper Lee
Mary Jane Myers lives in Los Angeles, where she is a certified public accountant. She holds degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Southern California Law School. In her free time she enjoys reading and traveling, often visiting the tiny house museums of famous writers and sitting down at their writing desks whenever possible. Curious Affairs is her debut collection of short stories.