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I Have the Answer

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  36 ratings  ·  14 reviews
If you thought the suburbs were boring, think again. Kelly Fordon's I Have the Answer artfully mixes the fabulist with the workaday and illuminates relationships and characters with crisp, elegant prose and dark wit. The stories in Fordon's latest collection are disquieting, humorous, and thought-provoking. They might catch you off guard, but are always infused with deep h ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by Wayne State University Press
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Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not one of the thirteen stories in this collection disappoints. Fordon's characters are by turns cynical, vulnerable, relatable, maddening and sympathetic. Most of all they are believable. But Fordon's real talent is holding up a mirror and making us acknowledge ourselves, our petty jealousy, our deadly anger, our earnest sympathy and our unfailing loyalty. The writing is elegant and the plots brilliantly executed. A must read for those who like short stories, stories about women, stories set in ...more
Keith Taylor
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kelly Fordon's wonderful new book. Too bad it has to come out at this time when the bookshops are closed! Here's the text of a radio review I did of it for Michigan Radio's "Stateside." Audio link below

I Have the Answer
by Kelly Fordon
Wayne State University Press, 2020

Several Michigan authors had the bad luck of publishing new books in the days or weeks just before the lockdown we find ourselves in right now. Bookstores are closed. Libraries are closed. All public events have been cancelled. The
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kelly Fordon’s I Have the Answer brings the reader into darkly funny, awkward, and painful moments between family members, friends, neighbors, and strangers. Fordon travels beneath the surface of suburban normalcy. The worlds of her characters feel familiar, yet the specifics of each story are strange enough to reveal truths and feelings we may recognize but rarely acknowledge. I’m in a writers’ group with Fordon, so I had the privilege of seeing some of these stories in earlier forms. The finis ...more
Lisa Lenzo
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This collection is by turns funny, haunting, and entertaining. The first story is hilarious! I think I will smile for the rest of my life when I hear the word “shorebirds.” The second story surprised me, in a good way. It’s so sad, and I love the longing in it of the son who wished he’d asked his dad more about everyday things. I wondered if the author could stay on a roll, and she did—I continued to be delighted, and at times astonished, by each the rest of the stories. Every one of them is a s ...more
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed all of the short stories! It was easy to connect to the characters. I often was wishing the story would continue - and would come up with my own idea of how it would go. Thanks Kelly for providing a good escape!!
Shelley Schanfield
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been having a hard time concentrating on reading, a shocker for me as there's nothing I love more than curling up with a good book.

That's why it was a pleasure to pick up Fordon's story collection, a little jewel box of tales. A widow's unwilling participation in a cultish group therapy weekend, a mystified mother's farewell to a recalcitrant son heading off to the Great Wall of China, a man who wakes up with a third arm, an abandoned wife's bizarre and weirdly satisfying tea party with a s
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fordon is a master storyteller, a virtuoso of the form, and this collection brims with humor and compassion, with deep insight into the secret, authentic lives under the surface of the ordinary people in seemingly quiet suburbia. She has a wide range of points of view and moods in her stories, and I love them all. Here are some of my favorites:

“The Visit,” in which an eleven-year-old narrator in 1976 says, “Smiling with teeth was non-negotiable to my mother. I had been taught to offer up my smil
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stories highlighting the complexity of modern middle class life written without guile. A glimpse of routine moments of living from which form the backbone of a mother on her hero’s journey to be both a mother and an individual. Deftly written and relatable.
Sara Hosey
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this collection. I thought the first story--"The Shorebirds and the Shaman"--was my favorite, but a few near the end--especially "When Did I Ever Think This Was a Good Idea?" really knocked me out. These are lovely, well-observed, and often heart-breaking stories. ...more
Donna Baier-Stein
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Perceptive, quirky stories. Especially enjoyed the stories about mothers and children and neighbors and the swift passage of time. Lots to treasure here.
Elisabeth Anton
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kelly Fordon's exquisite collection of stories made me laugh out loud, and gasp in turn. With her graceful, lyrical prose, Fordon fearlessly tackles complex subjects ranging from teenage rape through addiction and dementia. She masterfully creates characters that evince compassion and respect - and that pierce our hearts with their vulnerability. Each story left me wondering what would happen to these people I'd come to care about. Fordon is at her most intelligent and incisive when engaging the ...more
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There's this acid test I apply to stories I read; do I find myself thinking about the characters and their journey, the next day? The next week?
Several of the stories in Kelly Fordon's collection have stuck with me. Most notably the story where a high school girl conflates her memories of the movie The Exorcist with a real life run-in with a college age sexual predator. That will haunt me for some time.
Kristin Lenz
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent short story collection from a Detroit author. Plenty of surprises and a heaping dose of truth.
May 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Some of short stories in this collection are based in Michigan. Published by Wayne State Press, it’s easy to put down & pick up without losing track of the story-a good travel read!
Ellen Morris
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Aug 24, 2020
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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Kelly Fordon’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review Online, Rattle, The Florida Review, The Windsor Review, The Montreal Review and various other journals. Her novel-in-stories, Garden for the Blind, was published by Wayne State University Press in 2015 and was chosen as a Michigan Notable Book, an IPPY finalist for the short story, a Foreword Reviews' Indiefab finalist, a Midw ...more

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