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Joan Silber (Author, Sarah Lawrence College)


LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD. “Emotionally, it’s astounding. ‘Linked’ doesn’t begin to describe the complex web Silber has woven. . . . Beautiful, intricate and wise.”—New York Times Book Review

When is it wise to be a fool for something? What makes people want to be better than they are? From New York to India to Paris, from the Catholic Worker movement to Occupy Wall Street, the characters in Joan Silber’s dazzling new story cycle tackle this question head-on.

Vera, the shy, anarchist daughter of missionary parents, leaves her family for love and activism in New York. A generation later, her own doubting daughter insists on the truth of being of two minds, even in marriage. The adulterous son of a Florida hotel owner steals money from his family and departs for Paris, where he takes up with a young woman and finds himself outsmarted in turn. Fools ponders the circle of winners and losers, dupers and duped, and the price we pay for our beliefs.

Fools is a luminous, intelligent, and rewarding work of fiction from the author for whom the Boston Globe said, "No other writer can make a few small decisions ripple across the globe, and across time, with more subtlety and power."

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • April 2014
  • ISBN 978-0-393-34889-7
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 256 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Silber deftly constructs whole, fully realized lives in just a few pages, and her use of first-person narratives gives these stories an intimate, confessional feeling, as if you’ve struck up a conversation with a particularly talkative stranger.” — Boston Globe

“Excellent . . . the pleasure of Ms. Silber’s overlapping tales is that in all of them characters do something to surprise you.” — Wall Street Journal

“So well made and pleasurable . . . [Silber] kicks ass.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“Sly, graceful.” — Daily Beast

“Astonishing for its range, for its sweeping sense of time and place, and most especially for its deep insight into the way small choices can circle out to shape lives, and even human history. This is a beautiful book and an important literary achievement.” — Dan Chaon

“I loved Fools. The stories always surprised me, with the narratives unfolding as if in real time, and then turning unexpected in so many ways, twisting into stories that felt like remembered history, but with such added emotion that I thought about the characters for several days afterward as if they were here in my house.” — Susan Straight

“Joan Silber’s stories charm us. And amuse us. And engage us. And move us. And even enlighten us. Fools embraces us all.” — Amy Bloom

“A wonderfully winning exploration of impetuousness in all of its appalling and appealing forms.” — Jim Shepard

“Joan Silber is one of the wisest, finest, most capacious observers of the human condition writing now.” — Stacey D’Erasmo

“A unique and fascinating collection. . . .  The collective vision this provokes is what makes the book intellectually satisfying, the separate lives it convincingly displays are what move the heart.” — Antonya Nelson

“Great fiction. . . . It is impossible not to be enthralled.” — Christine Schutt

“Dazzling . . . written in elegant prose and with clairvoyant wisdom.” — Lily Tuck

Also by Joan Silber All

  1. Book CoverHousehold Words: A Novel


  2. Book CoverIdeas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories


  3. Book CoverThe Size of the World: A Novel


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