Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

When Things Get Back to Normal

When Things Get Back to Normal
by Constance Pierce

Price: $11.95


In a tone at once comic, gothic, and deceptively pastoral, the stories n this collection continue the tradition of Hawthorne, Poe, and James - Americans pursuing a dialectic with Europe - but in a late 20th century context. Constance Pierce's character's, with their fetishes for food and property, hide their eyes with daydreams, hallucinations, and enormous feats of rationale in their longing to return to the happy normal state they tell themselves they once enjoys but which likely never existed at all. Subtly questioning their characters' illusions and nostalgia, these stories, set in such territory as World War II Germany, the French countryside, and Long Island Sound, address the often nebulous relationships between private and public life, old and new ideas, fantasy and reality.

"Throughout I found Pierce's lush, arch prose to be a joy, in its unfolding, and her eye for satiric details to be unerring. These are mature, gifted stories, full of Nabokovian artifice but also brimming over with passion, social insights, and a feel for language. Altogether, an outstanding, highly readable collection." —Larry McCaffery


"She's a snob about the Fuhrer," my mother explodes when we're alone. "I wish we could see her if his name was non anything!" My mother goes through this every time her mother has held forth on her favorite subject: how mother and I should take as much as we can and join Aunt Else and her children in Lausanne. How she herself will stay here, just in case the insect brings things off and things get back to normal. How when all is said and done she will go to him and pleas ("I might have pride, but it's not foolish pride!") for the return of her great house, which is now headquarters for some official business of the Reich. Plead on the strength of "von Rundstadt," her trump card.

"After all," she always says, "If he manages things and things get back to how they were, what use would his officers have for my house?"

It is as if she had never sold the house.