A dozen stories featuring characters from four to ninety-four, each dealing in some way with how and why our memories shape our current crises. Included in the collection: in the days just after World War II, a young girl tries to remember the man being introduced to her as her father; an academic denied tenure remembers how to land on her feet; a couple on their way to divorce think about the things that once drew them together and then drove them apart; an elderly man struggles to recall where the bathroom is and why his wife has been replaced by a stranger; a newly widowed grandmother remembers the joy of finger painting and answering to no one; and the title story, in which a great-grandmother proves that you never forget how to make a bicycle go even if you may need a crash course in how to stop one.
“From Yanka, the simple and speechless servant girl who dreams of princes to Bob’s demented search for the ‘woman who lifts up my feet when I get into bed,’ Jan Maher knows her people from the inside out. Such a marvelous collection of character studies can only come from years of empathetic observation. This is a delicious read for people who like to observe other people.”
—Louise Amyot, Greenfield
“This stunning collection of short stories takes the reader on a journey through memory and forgetfulness, what is voiced and what is left silent, and what happens when that which is usually voiceless, gains a voice…. These stories twist deliciously into surprising and darkly humorous endings and have a way of lingering, persisting, in one’s memory.”
—Elizabeth MacDuffie, publisher, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review
“Maher’s writing has striking scope and breathtaking versatility…. This is a prize collection that examines each stage of human life—how memories are lost and won; their value; and their weight. Elegantly written tales laced with melancholy and mischief.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)