Cover image for What are you looking at? : the first fat fiction anthology
What are you looking at? : the first fat fiction anthology
Jarrell, Donna.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiv, 274 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
"A Harvest original."
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS648.O93 W48 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS648.O93 W48 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This anthology of thirty works by some of our best contemporary American writers looks at our perennial American obsession: fat. It's everywhere, all around you, and maybe even on you. Now, America's consuming passion at last has its own anthology. From Andre Dubus's delicious story of a young woman more comfortable in her fat body than her thin one
("The Fat Girl"), to Tobias Wolff's tale of bonding over pancakes ("Hunters in the Snow"), Dorothy Allison's poem about food and love ("Dumpling Child"), Peter Carey's surreal tale of a fat-man revolution ("The Fat Man in History"), Wesley McNair's poetic celebration "Fat Heaven", and George Saunders's "The 400-pound CEO," this bountiful feast of fiction and poetry will ensure no reader ever looks at fat quite the same way again.

Including stories and poems by
Dorothy Allison
Frederick Busch
Peter Carey
Raymond Carver
Junot Díaz
Andre Dubus
Pam Houston
Jill McCorkle
George Saunders
Tobias Wolff

Author Notes

Donna Jarrell is a self-described fat American whose fiction won Case Western Reserve University's Kennedy Prize for Outstanding Creative Project. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Ira Sukrungruang's work has appeared in numerous literary journals. He lives in Oswego and teaches at State University of New York-Oswego.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This singular and delightful anthology of stories and poems told by and about "fat" people is compelling in its honesty and surprising in its range-morbid narratives of murder and dark compulsions mingle with thoughtful reflections upon fatness in relation to family, friends, and culture. Andre Dubus's "The Fat Girl" follows Louise, who loses weight and loses herself in the process. Jill McCorkle presents sweet revenge in "Crash Diet." Peter Carey's "The Fat Man in History" is a bizarre and mysterious tale of a small clan called the Fat Men Against the Revolution that ends with cannibalism and a twist. Like any addiction, the focus is rarely on the poison of choice but rather on the relationship of the addict to himself and his environment and is ultimately a commentary on the complexities of a world where people are constantly trying to "find themselves" amidst a confusing array of social conventions. But the real joy of this anthology is that there is no "message" or moral that is thrust upon the reader, only stories attempting to illuminate aspects of the human condition-as all good stories should. Highly recommended.-Ann Kim, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



FREDERICK BUSCHExtra Extra LargeWhat the hell, try it once or twice. Lust after everyone. Live in a sexual lather awhile. Dine on the double veal rib, the lobster fricassee, the quail. Drink Latour. And order dessert. Baby: order anything you want. Baby: order everything.Bernie and I look like nearly identical twins, from time to time. He's the one with the more attractively broken-looking nose. He has a strong bald head, sloping shoulders, long arms and wide hands. His legs, if you were fitting them into designer jeans, aren't quite as long as fashion might require. He cocks his bearded chin (more chestnut, less gray, than mine) and raises his slightly more peaky brows, and he sights at you down his nose-like a boxer, calculating when to duck his chin, when to pop you with the jab.If you took my brother for a fading, spreading middleweight, you'd think of me as a heavyweight working to drop down a class. Bernie insisted I was reducing because of happiness in love."Believe me," I told him, "it might be love, but it isn't any pleasure."Bernie was under stress of his own, but it made him expand. He looked swollen with vitality, pink and broad and fit for coping. He wasn't vital, coping, or fit. As his waist widened and mine declined, as his face broadened and mine diminished, our heavy heads and thick whiskers, large nose, small eyes mounted by brows that look like accent marks in a foreign language, matched each other's as our bodies did.I thought this as we sat in Bernie's living room, in his little house in the bright countryside that rings suburban Philadelphia. We were part of the litter of the night before, I thought, two lightly sweating, pale, hungover men who rubbed our brows, took our glasses off and wiped them on the tails of our shirts-to no avail: the spots were in, not on, our vision-and nursed at light beer, waiting to feel better. The beer tasted thin and fizzy, and I kept thinking, while I watched him considering me, We'll both be fifty one of these days!Bernie nodded judiciously. His lips frowned in evaluation and then turned up in approval. He said, "Bill, you're looking good."I said, "For a dead person.""You keep up the regimen," he said, "and you'll be svelte. Does Joanne make sandwiches for you, with bean sprouts in them, on homemade whole-wheat bread? You're so lucky. Does she nag you to drink mineral water and kiss your earlobes when you push your plate away?""This is a professional woman, Bernie," I said. "This is a lawyer. Instead of a pacemaker, she'll get an egg timer installed. I call her up because I have a sudden need to croon vapid remarks about passion, and she tells me, 'Bill, I don't have time.'""Well," he said, "it's tough for women in the law. The guys are waiting for them to make a mistake. They call it the Affirmative Action Grace Period-usually it's about five minutes long, I hear.""No, she's good. They wanted her. They use her for the tough cases. Felony drug stuff. She's mean. She Excerpted from What Are You Looking At?: The First Fat Fiction Anthology by Donna Jarrell, Ira Sukrungruang All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

IntroductionFrederick Busch
Extra Extra LargeJunot Diacute;az
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoWesley McNair
The Fat Enter HeavenAndre Dubus
The Fat GirlJill McCorkle
Crash DietRhoda B. Stamell
Love for a Fat ManAllison Joseph
Full FigureErin McGraw
Ax of the ApostlesConrad Hilberry
FatStephen Dunn
PowerPeter Carey
The Fat Man in HistoryKatherine Riegel
Nouveau BigJack Coulehan
The Six Hundred Pound ManRebecca Curtis
Hungry SelfDorothy Allison
Dumpling ChildVern Rutsala
The Fat ManGeorge Saunders
The 400-PoundCeo S. L. Wisenberg
Big Ruthie Imagines Sex without PainPam Houston
Waltzing the CatTerrance Hayes
I Want to Be FatDenise Duhamel
For the One Man Who Likes My ThighsJ. L. Haddaway
When Fat Girls DreamSharon Solwitz
BallerinaDonna Jarrell
The Displaced Overweight Homemaker's Guide to Finding a ManPatricia Goedicke
Weight BearingTobias Wolff
Hunters in the SnowCathy Smith-Bowers
The Fat Lady TravelsRawdon Tomlinson
Fat People at the Amusement ParkMonica Wood
DisappearingRaymond Carver
Fat Permissions