Jewelry Box is a collection of intimate histories, concentrated and impressionistic renderings of the life that surrounds us, just under the surface. Grand scale history reveals one reality, but in Sheehan’s book, microcosms are also drenched in the past—in histories. Here stories blossom out from objects and concepts, some of them mundane at first glance: a tube of mascara, a cat’s tail, mushroom paté. Straddling memoir and fiction, the collection’s fifty-eight short works (some as brief as a paragraph, others concentrated in a few pages) explore the nuances of sexuality, motherhood, love, and ambition. As a whole, this book comprises a portrait of a writer reasserting what it means to know a life and tell a story.
She is the girl next door. She is soft and sly and brilliant and exuberant and demure. She and I eat oysters together, and drink a little beer. We live on different sides of the railroad tracks. But it is Mardi Gras, and we’re both wearing beads around our necks tonight, and she gives me this small red Buddha.
“Aurelie Sheehan’s absorbing stories have depth miles beneath their compelling surface. They radiate a wisdom, beauty and originality rare in contemporary fiction.” —Frederic Tuten
“Aurelie Sheehan writes, with porcelain precision, stories tuned like poems that behave like memoir. Jewelry Box traces the spider-webbing tensions between life’s sweetness and the need for strife.” —Lucy Corin
“Aurelie Sheehan’s sterling collection, Jewelry Box, is mint. These splinters of story, shaved from massive glaciers of narrative, fracture like ice shards calving from a flow, like crimped reeding sliced from a ducat. These silver slivers work their way under the skin to worry there—lodged, seated, touched. Tangible, gingerly gingered treasures, each one. And each one, edged and embossed, authentic coin of the submerged and still untarnished realm.” —Michael Martone
“Subtle and moving.”—O Magazine
“Sheehan’s writing is often bulls-eye perfect.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Aurelie Sheehan renders a powerful female
sexuality; the prose rushes forward, full of heat and instinct…Sheehan should be read and re-read.” —Newsday
“Each paragraph is cinematic in its intensity...”—The New York Times Book Review
Aurelie Sheehan is the author of two novels, History Lesson for Girls (Viking Penguin, 2006) and The Anxiety of Everyday Objects (Penguin Books, 2004), as well as a short story collection Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant (Dalkey Archive Press, 2001). Her work has been widely published in such venues as The New York Times, Ploughshares, and The Southern Review. She has received a Pushcart Prize, a Camargo Fellowship, and the Jack Kerouac Literary Award, among others. Sheehan teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2013