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The Universe in Miniature in Miniature by Patrick Somerville
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Feb 25, 11

Read from January 31 to February 25, 2011

Patrick Somerville grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin and earned his MFA from Cornell University. His books include two collections of stories -- TROUBLE (2006) and THE UNIVERSE IN MINIATURE IN MINIATURE (Featherproof Books 2010) -- and a novel, THE CRADLE (2009), which was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2009 by Janet Maslin of the New York Times. His writing has appeared in One Story, Epoch, GQ, and Esquire. His latest story collection has been long listed for The Story Prize.

Sommerville had this to say about his story: I wrote “The Universe in Miniature in Miniature” as a way to leap from the world of one book into the world of another -- into the world of the next. I wrote it soon after I’d finished THE CRADLE, my first novel, which sticks to realism and doesn’t bend the rules of our shared reality too much in order to tell its story. With “The Universe in Miniature in Miniature,” I wanted something different, I wanted to stretch out and indulge in whim and the imagination. But I still wanted to tell a story with relatable emotional stakes. That’s a tough gambit, that in-between place where strangeness is allowed to thrive, but the everyday human heart still makes sense. So I looked for a sad story -- the story of a son whose life is essentially ruined because of an accident -- and tried to layer the whim, the fancy, and the unusual institutions over the top. In the end, I hope I found the right combination: real sadness in the center, but a sadness borne along by the humor and color of the fantastic.
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