Susan Steinberg reading from her new fiction collection Spectacle

On January 16, 2013, Susan Steinberg came to City Lights Bookstore to celebrate the release of her new fiction collection Spectacle: Stories (Graywolf Press).

From the innovative author of Hydroplane and The End of Free Love comes an inventive new collection of fiction.

In these innovative linked stories, women confront loss and grief as they sift through the wreckage of their lives. In the title story, a woman struggles with the death of her friend in a plane crash. A daughter decides whether to take her father off life support in the Pushcart Prize-winning “Cowboys.” And in “Underthings,” when a man hits his girlfriend, she calls it an accident. Spectacle bears witness to alarming and strange incidents: carnival rides and plane crashes, affairs spied through keyholes and amateur porn, vandalism and petty theft. These wounded women stand at the edge of disaster and risk it all to speak their sharpest secrets.

In lean, acrobatic prose, Susan Steinberg subverts assumptions about narrative and challenges conventional gender roles. She delivers insight with a fierce lyric intensity in sentences shorn of excessive sentiment or unnecessary ornament. By fusing style and story, Steinberg amplifies the connections between themes and characters so that each devastating revelation echoes throughout the collection. A vital and turbulent book from a distinctive voice, Spectacle will break your heart, and then, before the last page is turned, will bind it up anew.

Susan Steinberg is the author of the short story collections, Hydroplane and The End of Free Love. Her stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, Conjunctions, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of a 2012 Pushcart Prize.