What You Long For

What You long For is a rich collection that will make you laugh-out-loud in some places and cry in others. Filled with humor and tenderness, Barnhill has written an enormously entertaining group of stories. Whether she is describing country women telling their stories in “The Quilting Bee,” or introducing a little boy in love with his best friend’s beer-drinking mother in “Kings and Damsels,” Anne Barnhill creates unforgettable characters who feel like people you have encountered in your own life. She describes the interior life of women, in particular, with honesty and wonderfully real details from ordinary life. Simultaneously erotic and down-to-earth, What You Long For, is bound to become a Southern classic.

Released: May 2009 by Main Street Rag; $14.95; ISBN: 978-1-59948-164-7; paperback (300 pages).

Read an Excerpt

Praise for What You Long For:

“Anne Barnhill finds material for her strong stories in ordinary places among unexceptional people. Small towns, suburbs, and country settings are favorites; housewives, children, ministers, and co-workers are preferred characters. Yet What You Long For is surprising at every turn. The author’s frankness, her marksmen’s eye for detail, and her faith that no one is truly ordinary, combine to fashion a vision of life that is serious and humorous by turns–and always sympathetic. Here are stories that call upon a reader to think once, twice, and then say, ‘Yes–that is true.’” Fred Chappell, former North Carolina Poet Laureate, author of Midquest and I Am One of You Forever, among many others.

“These are necessary stories–written for the deepest reason: to help us survive the pain of not getting what we most long for–to love and to be loved rightly. Frank, earthy, wise, tender, funny, sad, these stories remind us that we can survive, even triumph, despite our failings. As one character puts it: ‘Why, if you don’t have a story left, are you still alive?’” Becky Gould Gibson, author of Need-Fire and Aphrodite’s Daughter, winner of the X.J.Kennedy Poetry Prize

“I have known Anne Barnhill’s work for over a decade. Her stories offer us tenderness, nostalgia, an inescapable melancholy shot through with moments of joy and solace. She takes great care of her characters as well as her readers, allowing us to see ourselves shining through in them. This collection is cause for celebration!” Julianna Baggott, author of Girl Talk and The Madam

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