A Common Person and Other Stories
216 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268200060 | February 2021
Hardcover | 9780268200053 | February 2021
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268200046 | February 2021
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268200077 | February 2021
These prizewinning stories champion the everyday person who tries to do his or her best in demanding and even demeaning situations.
The stories in A Common Person and Other Stories, R. M. Kinder’s third short-story collection and the winner of the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction, expose the disruption in our modern life and the ever-present threat of violence, and, most importantly, they capture the real heroism of everyday people. The characters in these stories, most set deep in the middle of America, seem to invite trouble through their concern for others: a neighbor’s mistreated dog, a boy standing up to a bully, a woman who faces cancer and the loss of love. Kinder’s characters struggle with conflicts common to us all—to treat humans and animals with compassion, to open minds and hearts to diversity, all while balancing the welfare of the individual and the larger community. The characters aren’t always loveable, but they have their moments of grace—they accept responsibility and take stands. These stories, by turns humorous, unsettling, and utterly believable, expose the dangers of ordinary life as their characters perform acts of defiance, determination, and connection. The memorable characters in A Common Person and Other Stories are, like us, doing the best they can, and that is often remarkable and admirable. Considered closely, Kinder shows us, no person is common.
R. M. Kinder is the author of three prizewinning collections of short fiction, including A Near-Perfect Gift, winner of the University of Michigan Press Literary Fiction Award, and Sweet Angel Band and Other Stories, winner of Helicon Nine Editions’s Willa Cather Fiction Prize. She has also published two novels, An Absolute Gentleman and The Universe Playing Strings. Her prose has appeared in Passages North, Other Voices, North American Review, the New York Times, and elsewhere.
“These clear-eyed, daring, delicate, and deeply organic stories hum with animal vitality: dogs and snakes, gunplay and witchcraft, music and tornadoes. R. M. Kinder has a fearless heart; she approaches the human condition without preconceptions, and the result is a collection of startling wisdom and piercing beauty.” —Trudy Lewis, author of The Empire Rolls
“Even in the darker stories, R. M. Kinder’s trademark strengths can be found in abundance: narratives that unfold with ease and end at exactly the right moment, spot-on dialogue, a keen eye for the emotional landscape and generosity of heart. Like all fine story writers—from Mansfield to Munro—Kinder knows, from the writer’s perspective, there is no such thing as an unremarkable life.” —Catherine Browder, author of Now We Can All Go Home
"R. M. Kinder may be a modern-day Katherine Anne Porter with a vein of Flannery O’Connor darkness squiggling throughout, but she puts me most in mind of Lucia Berlin in sensibility and droll intelligence. Kinder manages to bolster our hope for humanity, even as she doesn’t flinch from the hard face of twenty-first-century reality. A Common Person and Other Stories is full of heart, generosity, and absolutely stunning writing." —Karen Brennan, author of Monsters
"Reading an R. M. Kinder story is like plunging your face into a clear, cold, spring-fed stream. Everything is changed, refreshed, and revelatory. Her beautiful new collection, A Common Person and Other Stories, is a constant, thrilling reminder of the magic and power that resides in the people—and the animals—that surround us every day." —Whitney Terrell, author of The Good Lieutenant
“Known as a regionalist, a rural writer, and a realist . . . most of [Kinder’s] stories are about the struggles of ordinary people. . . . Some of [the stories] are light, all of them have a serious thread, and every one of them is about working-class, brave people making their life with honor and nobility.” —Sedalia Democrat
"Kinder from everyday life forges sincere, powerful revelations about what goes into being human, sometimes in glory and sometimes in shame, and told always with a genius for emotional honesty that eschews the maudlin in favor of the real." —Richmond News
"The third illuminating collection of short fiction from R.M. Kinder thoughtfully explores how people are shaped by simple heroism and fateful encounters." —Shelf Awareness
“A Common Person is a skillfully touching collection of stories by Missouri writer R. M. Kinder.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"An inherently absorbing, impressively original, and memorably written compendium of short stories by an exceptionally talented author." —Midwest Book Review
"The collection brings out the triumph, violence, and profound ambiguity lurking beneath the surface of everyday life. It is more than worthy of its acclaim and ought to garner scores of readers who may find themselves face to face with their own reflections in its pages." —Missouri Life
"R. M. Kinder’s gift for creating meaningful characters is marked by her awareness of complexities continually at work in every person and by the mysterious alchemies of need, will, and fortune that shape our relationships, including those we share with animals." —Southern Literary Review
"Kinder's range is impressive. The breadth of setting, tonality, and character varies greatly from one story to the next, yet there is a deliberate flatness and matter of fact veneer to these stories that reflect, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it, 'one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence.'" —OzarksWatch Magazine