At a campground, a divorced father confronts a man he believes hurt his daughter. A devoted student traces a winding path through the snow, searching for the next most beautiful thing. Two brothers watch their father tinker lovingly with his homemade robots. In Paul Maliszewski’s debut story collection, men and women struggle to do right. They argue. They think. They think again. They have odd dreams. Often they fail at being good, and yet, on occasion, they realize moments of true kindness. In language that is at once simple and supple, plain-spoken and arresting, these twenty-eight stories describe complete lives in sharp detail, lives we may recognize as not unlike our own.
Paul Maliszewski has published essays in Harper’s, Granta, and Bookforum, among other magazines. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, One Story, and Bomb and have been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. Fakers, his first collection of essays, was published by The New Press in 2009. He lives in Washington, DC.
“You want me to tell you what sets Maliszewski apart? The answer is probity. The answer also is decency. Here’s another answer: modesty, tact, exactitude, pertinence, reverence, wit. All told, Maliszewski has all the graces, which is why I, in my old age, am renewed and schooled by him. Oh, and another thing: Paul Maliszewski takes no crap.”
“Prayer and Parable is a labor of love. This collection of stories is masterfully crafted without being fussy or showy. Maliszewski has a unique voice which is quiet, clear, and precise, and which certainly does not shout “Look at me! Look at how well I write!” The stories are simply and beautifully written, and they are also excellent stories, full of observations and insights into the human condition. And really, what more do you want from a book, or a writer?”
—David Whitehead, Powell’s Books