Abby Frucht

Selected Works

Short Stories
These 14 stories share a subject - children and childhood - but other than a taste for the unfamilar they are all about as different as they can be. Like my other stories, novels, and essays, I hope that they expose readers to dark events via a playful and sensual perspective, exploring the mysterious, eccentric aspects of all our lives and how they sometimes mislead us and go astray.
Winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize
Novels
A young mother dies in childbirth, and comes back, a sly ghost, to haunt her son.
Novel
Through a host of strange, magical objects, a woman with breast cancer dreams the future she'll never have.
This novel follows a politically and philosophically-minded couple through the evolution of their reproductive life.
A mail carrier in a dreamy Midwestern town charts the unexplained disappearance of its inhabitants.
A typical tale of a marriage gone awry? Well, no.

SNAP

excerpt from SNAP:

She is lying on her back among shards of window. The lighthouse is old, so its windows are thin and brittle. Broken, the pane is all cutting edge. As a child, Ida loved to put her weight on a frozen puddle, to test its solidity. First she’d poke the ice with just the toe of her boot, and then with the whole of her foot. The ice never cracked all at once, but with slow, creaking whispers, like a city of miniature voices. It’s that sound she hears now as she lies on the floor, a glassy, brittle chorus that reminds her of something else. Life before Ruby, the day of her fall down the terrible, wonderful steps. Ida had forgotten all about that day. That was Ruby’s doing. Once he came along, there was never a need to look back. But now she remembers. In the basement an orange light played along the lengths of some wine glass stems, snapped at both ends. Three stems rolled past. A giant water bug vanished into a corner, and water gurgled overhead. Then Mitch ran over and knelt down, exclaiming. Ida hadn’t know it was Mitch, at first. She saw a giant kneeling shape that was the shape of kindness, that wrapped its arms around her body and carried her upstairs. Mitch kept a corkscrew in one of his multiple, carpenter pockets, and its sharp, exposed spiral stuck into her hip. She remembers too the sweet scent of fermenting oranges, a recollection that confuses her until she recalls the shot glass of Grand Marnier. Then Mitch had sat down and plumped his giant elbows on the table before her, and made a steeple with his meaty fingers. Ida remembers the steeple, and the triangle of face she saw peering at her through its negative spaces. It was Mitch’s face, and it was saying things she hoped she wasn’t hearing.

“I want to get married already,” Mitch said.

After Ida had made her escape, and had ridden by bicycle to the road, where she paused to adjust her clothing, she discovered that the nick of blood that Mitch had found on her ankle was not blood at all but probably tomato juice from somebody’s cocktail. There was no sign of injury beneath her nylon waitress stockings. Ida never told this to anyone, because she was ashamed. It alarmed her to know that a fall through a trap door into a shower of smashed wine glasses had left her completely unharmed. Perhaps she was not quite mortal.

“Nothing ever hurts me,” she wrote to her cousin. “I’m not even fat, like you. I’ve never been starving, I’ve never been sad, and no one I’ve loved has died. Yesterday I should have been killed, but I wasn’t, and tomorrow I’ll be fine...”

The day Ida wrote this letter was the day following the first morning she spent with Ruby on the front stoop of her apartment building in Richmond, after their first night in bed together, making love, but this is not a connection that Ida makes, now. She has a vague apprehension that something important had happened that night, but she doesn’t bother trying to recall its particulars. What matters now is the fall and its harmless consequences, a too-happy blueprint for the rest of her life.

The New York Times Book Review wrote about SNAP: "Ms. Frucht is so good that we are willing to trust her to show us the way. In addition to structural muscle, the writing itself is packed with detail, insights, images. This is very sensual writing, sexual in a languid, liquid way."

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