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Death is Not an Option

Death is Not an Option book cover
Suzanne Rivecca
W. W. Norton & Company
2011
“Ruthlessly frank. . . . Recalls Holden Caulfield by way of John Hughes.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
 
In these stories, a teacher obsesses over a student who comes to class with scratch marks on his face; a Catholic girl graduating high school finds a warped kind of redemption in her school’s contrived class rituals; and a woman looking to rent a house is sucked into a strangely inappropriate correspondence with one of the landlords. These are just a few of the powerful plotlines in Suzanne Rivecca’s gorgeously wrought collection. From a college student who adopts a false hippie persona to find love, to a young memoirist who bumps up against a sexually obsessed fan, the characters in these fiercely original tales grapple with what it means to be honest with themselves and the world.
 
These stories explode “with piercing insight . . . illuminating the dangerous dance between victims and saviors. [They] deliver us to the edge of grief, that precarious place where the moral compass spins—where codes of love and law and religion fail. Mercy here depends on a tiger’s sublime grace, our capacity to resist deeper harm, and the right of every broken being to remain silent” (Melanie Rae Thon).