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About the Author: Peter Selgin

Peter Selgin is the author of Drowning Lessons, winner of the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for Fiction, Life Goes to the Movies, a novel, two books on the craft of fiction, and two children’s books. His stories and essays have appeared in dozens of magazines and anthologies, including Glimmer Train Stories, Poets & Writers, The Sun, Slate, Colorado Review, Writers and Their Notebooks, Writing Fiction, and Best American Essays 2009. Confessions of a Left-Handed Man: An Artist’s Memoir, was recently published by the University of Iowa Press and was short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. His latest novel, The Water Master, won this years’ Pirate’s Alley / Faulkner Society Prize, and his essay, The Kuhreihen Melody, won the Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize. Selgin’s visual art has graced the pages of the The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Outside, Gourmet, and other publications. Selgin has had several plays published and produced, including Night Blooming Serious, which won the Mill Mountain Theater Competition. His full-length play, A God in the House, based on Dr. Kevorkian and his suicide device, was a National Playwright’s Conference Winner and later optioned for Off-Broadway. He teaches at Antioch University’s MFA writing program and is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia College.


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Goodreads rating: 3.98

Paperback, Published in Mar 2011 by University of Georgia Press

ISBN10: 0820338192 | ISBN13: 9780820338194

Page count: 256

The stories in Drowning Lessons engage water as both a vital and a potentially hazardous presence in our lives. "You can touch water," says Peter Selgin, "you can taste it and feel its temperature, you can even hold it in your hands. Still it remains elusive, ill-defined, shaped only by what surrounds or contains it."With empathy and wit Selgin introduces us to characters navigating the choppy waters of human relationships. In "Swimming" an avid swimmer fights the stasis in his marriage by prodding his out-of-shape but contented wife to take up the sport--with near-disastrous results. A pond is the setting of "The Wolf House," which tells of the reunion and dissolution of a group of high school friends brought together for a funeral. "The Sinking Ship Man" chronicles a day in the life of an African American caretaker in charge of the only remaining survivor of the Titanic disaster. In "El Malecón" a toothless old Dominican tries to recapture his lost dignity by "borrowing" a shiny Cadillac convertible and aiming it down the coastal highway toward his childhood village. In "The Sea Cure" two travelers in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula confront death in the form of a mysterious woman living in an abandoned beachfront apartment complex.

In all thirteen tales in Drowning Lessons, Selgin exhibits a keen eye for the forces that push people toward--and sometimes beyond--their very human limits, forces as intrinsic, elemental, and elusive as the liquid that makes up two-thirds of their bodies. These stories remind us that of all bodies of water, none is deeper or more dangerous than our own.

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