Cover image for Woman made of sand : a novel in stories
Woman made of sand : a novel in stories
Kobin, Joann.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Harrison, NY : Delphinium Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
170 pages ; 22 cm
Rain -- Charity work -- Dancing with time -- What I leaned from Clara -- His mother, his daughter -- Woman made of sand -- Madonna at Monterchi -- At the "Changing Careers" Conference -- The provider -- Chicken livers -- Discipline and will.
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Like a troupe of finely trained ballerinas, the beautifully crafted fictions of Joann Kobin's new novel-in-stories Woman Made of Sand perform their intricate steps as they weave themselves together in a seamless work of aching beauty. Graceful and subtle, unflinchingly honest, the novel accompanies the lives of Harriet and Philip, and their children, as their relationships dissolve and as they then battle to survive the complex configurations of their old and new families coming -- and crashing -- together. Whether in the novel's funny and poignant "Rain, " in which the hope for family unity unravels at Phillip's father's funeral, or in the exquisitely choreographed final story, "Discipline and Will, " in which the expectations of three generations hang precariously on the outcome of a single ballet performance, these fictions embrace one another, taking on a wholeness -- a significance -- that is lasting, their power unforgettable.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

HThe nuances of relationships and family life receive an eloquent, graceful treatment in this interlocking collection of stories by first-timer Kobin. It's a winner from start to finish, telling the tale of a seemingly mundane couple, Harriet and Philip Stedman, with the narration more or less alternating between the two protagonists. Harriet is the more lively and flirtatious, and the star of the beautifully wistful and nostalgic "Dancing with Time." In it, she tries to come to terms with her unrequited affection for their friend Paul, an artist who dies of lung cancer as he's about to achieve success. The grimly stoic Philip is best revealed in the title story, in which he builds a sand sculpture of a woman bearing a suspicious resemblance to Harriet, after he has remarried following the couple's divorce. Also essential to the book are their two children: in "Chicken Livers," Harriet drops in on her feisty daughter, Matina, a fashion model turned medical student; their son, Eric, stars in the powerhouse finale, "Will and Discipline," in which he simultaneously begins and ends his dance career in a dramatic performance. Kobin's masterful control is most noteworthy, followed closely by her ability to unearth subtle but powerful revelations from her conceits and characters. Few writers wring as much emotionally and spiritually from life's ordinary moments, and this is a book that will touch even the most jaded readers. (Mar.) Forecast: Kobin has been widely published in small New England journals and also in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. A few well-placed reviews could give this deserving debut a leg up, particularly in the Northeast. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved