In Rutting Season, Mandeliene Smith’s collection gives new life to the short story renaissance with nine piercingly insightful and impeccably crafted stories about girls behaving badly and families on the brink of collapse.
The stories drift all over New England, starting with “Mercy,” about a mother’s struggle to stay afloat after the sudden death of her husband and the loss of her children’s pets. In the titular story, “Rutting Season,” Smith takes readers into the minds of three diverging coworkers and demonstrates how even seemingly trivial actions can either devastate or heal a mundane office on the brink of calamity. “What it Takes” is told from the perspective of a high school student contemplating her future beyond a tempestuous New Haven neighborhood. It is equal parts a study of race and privilege, recounted in searing, gorgeous prose. Smith knows the human condition and gets to the truth in each story in ways that will stick with readers long after they part company.
Mandeliene Smith’s stories have appeared in Guernica, The Sun, New England Review, and The Massachusetts Review. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her story “Mercy” was selected by Stephen King for the list of “100 Other Distinguished Stories” in The Best American Short Stories 2007. To support her writing habit over the years, Mandeliene has waited tables, weeded gardens, taught writing, worked as a secretary, and translated books into Braille, among other things. She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in comparative literature from Hampshire College. She currently lives in Lexington, MA with her husband, her two daughters and two dogs.
If you're unable to attend the event and would like a signed copy of Rutting Season, please purchase the "Signed" version below.