Mending: New and Selected Stories

mending 300px1 Mending: New and Selected Stories

In Mending, Sallie Bingham fol­lows the often bru­tal course of yearn­ing and its dis­ap­point­ments with an emo­tional acu­ity both unflinch­ing and vig­i­lant. From the first asser­tions and com­pro­mises of sexuality-those accom­mo­da­tions that tug and chafe-to the con­stric­tions of adult­hood and, finally, the fixed con­tours of a matu­rity where need has been win­nowed down, but so has our abil­ity to accom­mo­date, Bingham’s sto­ries radi­ate with an hon­esty that is as insis­tent as it is com­pas­sion­ate. These sto­ries, span­ning a career of 50 years and rang­ing from the fecund Kentucky of her youth to the starker land­scapes of New Mexico, have been called “sharp, ele­gant nar­ra­tives” by Entertainment Weekly and “lumi­nous” by Publishers Weekly. Taken together, they offer a vision of our inex­haustible hope that there might be a fit­ting home for the heart.

Download a .pdf excerpt of the book, cour­tesy of Sarabande Books.

Praise for Mending: New and Selected Stories:

“The lay­ers of the unspo­ken in Bingham’s sto­ries afford them the replete­ness of novel­las, bely­ing their acces­si­ble sur­faces, which are as absorb­ing as gos­sip. Why would a veg­e­tar­ian shoot an elk? Why did the young nov­el­ist go stay alone with his wife’s sis­ter on Nantucket? Why does the ambassador’s shy daugh­ter stop feel­ing home­sick in Paris? The sto­ries couldn’t be more engag­ing, yet they arouse an oddly sat­is­fy­ing uneasi­ness that you’re miss­ing some­thing vital; no sooner do you fin­ish read­ing one than you want to read it again. Their artistry is as hyp­notic and unan­a­lyz­able as Roger Federer’s ten­nis. Selected from five decades’ work, these sto­ries dis­till the mys­te­ri­ous glow that lives emanate as they recede into the past, and con­firm Bingham’s place in the front rank of prac­ti­tion­ers of this elu­sive genre.”

The New Yorker

“Bingham’s work, includ­ing favorites such as “The Wedding” and “Sweet Peas,” remains sharp and deli­ciously unset­tling, ripe for dis­cov­ery by a new gen­er­a­tion of readers.”

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

“This col­lec­tion of new and selected sto­ries spans work from 1967 to the present by an impor­tant writer who is too lit­tle known. These sto­ries are remark­able for their econ­omy of lan­guage and for the author’s abil­ity, within a small frame, to allow the unde­fined but intense emo­tion of a cen­tral char­ac­ter (male or female, young or old) to sharpen in focus to the point at which both reader and char­ac­ter share the sur­prise of insight. In “August Ninth at Natural Bridge,” from Bingham’s 1972 col­lec­tion, The Way It Is Now, a family’s tra­di­tional birth­day out­ing becomes the set­ting for a girl’s seem­ingly typ­i­cal teenage surli­ness to open out grad­u­ally into a ter­ri­fy­ing under­stand­ing of sex­ual games­man­ship. These sto­ries end with a stun­ning metaphoric res­o­nance. In the more recent “Apricots,” for instance, a 63-year-old teacher allows her­self to be seduced by a stu­dent help­ing her can apri­cots. Toward the end of the story, Bingham moves from action to rec­ol­lec­tion with the fol­low­ing sen­tence: “Later, Caroline remem­bered the flesh of the apri­cots, their slight grain­i­ness, the mois­ture that was not drip­ping like the sweet­ness of peaches but absorbed, con­tained.” VERDICT Like the fruit in “Apricots,” the sto­ries in this rich col­lec­tion are char­ac­ter­ized by a ripeness of lan­guage and the grain­i­ness of sur­pris­ing truths.”

Library Journal

“Sallie Bingham’s char­ac­ters scru­ti­nize their rela­tion­ships with chil­dren, lovers, and their own treach­er­ous souls…. Nearly every one of these flinty sto­ries is a tiny masterpiece.”

Entertainment Weekly

“These engag­ing tales span land­scape, gen­der, and age, and read­ers will trea­sure Bingham’s strik­ingly per­cep­tive com­po­si­tion and refined, clever flashes of detail and clarity.”


“She has a poet’s eye for the sig­nif­i­cant inci­dent. She has a playwright’s ear for dia­logue. She has the essayist’s sense of a devel­op­ing argu­ment. These traits come to a won­der­ful ful­fill­ment in her short fiction.”

The Courier-Journal

Signed copies of selected works are avail­able directly from the author at the list price, plus $ 2.99 shipping.

Titles include Mending, Red Car, The Hub of the Miracle, Transgressions: Stories, Straight Man, Small Victories and Passion and Prejudice.

ej view cart Mending: New and Selected Stories

Sarabande Books
ISBN: 978-1-936747-00-9
Binding: Cloth
Pages: 262
$ $23.00

View all of Sallie's online writing in her archives.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add your own }

ramie January 31, 2012 at 10:28 am

I just finished last night reading ” Mending.” What a beautiful collection of stories. I told a friend I wished I could thank the author for her writing so delighted to be able to say thanks! My father was a writer whose favorite writers were women and my mother was a WPA sculptor and social protest artist , and I thought of how they both would have loved your work too.


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