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Librarian's Note this is an alternate cover edition ISBN 10 1940430399Ten riveting emotionally complex stories examining the decisions we make when our choices are few and courage is costly Topics include a young couple facing disease and commitment with the same sharp fear a teenager stealing from his girlfriend's mother's purse to help pay for her abortion and a father making a split second decision that puts his child's life at riskSusan Lanier earned an MFA in creative writing from Columbia College in 2012 and currently lives writes and photographs in Chicago Illinois Her work has appeared in Annalemma and Hairtrigger and is forthcoming in collaboration with Yes Press Books


10 thoughts on “The Game We Play

  1. says:

    45 stars Not gonna lie I read Sooze Lanier’s The Game We Play so fast I almost thought it was an addendum to the last short story collection I had consumed Maryse Meijer’s Rag Stories; in practically the same ravenous fashion It didn’t help they were similar in both length and content not to mention impact And while both are products of a rather deep literary wormhole I’ve been recently fully entrenched within the fact I’d read two analogous collections in consecutive days is purely by chance Lucky me I guess Like Meijer’s work connection is the dominant theme in The Game We Play Yet with Rag the focus was on “humanizing the inhuman”; many of Meijer’s characters were criminal immoral appalling The ten stories that make up Lanier’s collection showcase a wider range of characters from college freshmen to Borders employees young desperate lovers to older even desperate lovers Hell even a professional baseball player makes an appearance as does the fictional alter ego of a weed smoking porn watching would be writer at least that’s how I interpreted it It makes for an exhilarating read That said it also made for an uneven one But not THAT uneven In fact the best of The Game We Play which I detail below is so good you all but forget about the fodder if one could even call it that Even the weaker submissions are carefully plotted deliberately crafted; it’s clear Lanier is both as comfortable writing in such a confined space as she is confident What’s Lanier isn’t afraid to shift structures whether it be your standard traditional short story flash fiction or pithy chaptered tales I liken it to an album by Blur a band known for genre hopping yet still one capable of providing a distinct voice That voice echoes throughout and resonates strongest in the following stories the conversational “Sophie Salmon” wherein a troubled girl meets a not as troubled boy on the job they work at Borders they hook up drift apart and attempt to reconcile on his last day at their workplace; the nostalgia inducing “Cat and Bird” a tale of two college freshmen and their budding plutonic relationship in the wake of the 2000 Presidential election; the dynamic “Felecia Sassafras is Fiction” a nifty clever piece of experimental fiction documenting a writer and his internal battle with one of his written creations I think; and the devastating “Now That All Danger Is Averted” the story of a married couple in peril attempting to rekindle their spark despite their respective passive aggression getting in the way not to mention the still fresh memory of losing their childThese four alone make The Game We Play noteworthy but really it’s Sooze Lanier’s ability to do with less that make this collection a must read Kudos


  2. says:

    Each story is riveting than the last filled with passion and fear and pain These little worlds are already sticking themselves to my mind ready to stay for a while And I met her last weekend at a lit fest and she signed my copy with What are you doing after school? which is still puzzling or funny or nice Or all of the above


  3. says:

    It's been a long while since a book of short stories so completely captivated me The Game We Play is both hilarious or heartbreaking; Susan Hope Lanier creates miniature worlds in which it's easy to lose yourself while gaining a new perspective In one word or line Lanier shifts the story's world or brings new facts to light It is a book that bears reading not only once but many times


  4. says:

    I took advantage of a Curbside Splendor special all books only 5 each and got four books including this one and VILE MEN by Rebecca Jones Howe What an incredible deal I got both books of short stories were exceptional I can't wait to read by Susan Hope Lanier


  5. says:

    It's the coming out partay for Chicago's newest voice Susan Hope Lanier


  6. says:

    25 stars This writer has a lot of potential I think just about every one of the stories could have gone through another round of drafts Felecia Sassafras is Fiction is fun but there is a lot there to be done What is missing most for me is character development Things happen in the stories but to who? In most cases the characters are summed up by their actions or their emotions They're listless and aimless and fogged up by drugs But who are they? What opportunities are they missing? What possibilities are they wrestling with? What are their desires?


  7. says:

    Ah surprises I confess I have never read any of Susan Hope Lanier's work before this book but man oh man was I missing out I love it It's great The subtlety with which she writes about fairly common if often fairly horrible everyday human interactions is topnotch It's pure pleasure I wish everyone I read who had something to say about things like romantic relationships could read Lanier and see first how it's done Awesome book


  8. says:

    I enjoy collections with different story structures and content In too many books after you've read the first story you know the format for the remainder Lanier has traditional dialogue heavy stories short and chaptered stories and even a bit of flash fiction I'm also a sucker for minimalism and she knows how to choose each word carefully cutting the stories to only what's necessary


  9. says:

    This book of short stories was so refreshing fun and full of interesting characters and situations that I won't even dock it a star for its misuse of the title of the Pavement song In the Mouth a Desert as In the Mouth of the Desert Also kudos to the cover designer I totally picked it up on a whim at a bookstore based solely on the pink blocky lettering


  10. says:

    Subtle and satisfying like Carver or Moore It gives life to the short story form and the possibility for empathy Each character shares the malaise of contemporary life but we root for their consciousness regardless The sentences are constructed so that we can feel the fear of embedded in each story and see how it reflects back at us Lanier serves up an appetizing debut