Meet Author & Ann Arbor Native Jessica Francis Kane (The Close: Stories)

Mar 28 2013 7:00 pm
JESSICA FRANCIS KANE was born in Berkeley, CA, grew up in Ann Arbor, MI, and graduated from Yale. After graduation she worked in publishing in New York City and Washington, D.C. Her first short story collection, Bending Heaven, was published in the US (Counterpoint, 2002) and the UK (Chatto & Windus, 2003). Awards and honors for her work include the Lawrence Foundation Prize from the Michigan Quarterly Review, fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Special Mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. Her stories have been presented on BBC Radio 4 and published many places, including Virginia Quarterly ReviewThe Missouri ReviewMcSweeney’s, The Yale ReviewA Public SpaceNarrative, and Granta. Her essays and humor pieces have appeared inSalon, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and The Morning News, where she is a contributing writer.

Her first novel, The Report, was published by Graywolf Press in September 2010 and was a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, the Indie Booksellers’ Choice Award, the Grub Street Book Prize for Fiction, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. The Report was published in the UK by Portobello Books in March 2011 and was chosen as a Best Reads 2012 for the TV Book Club.

Stage and film rights for The Report have been optioned.

Kane lives in New York City with her husband and their two children.

This Close: Stories (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781555976361
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Graywolf Press, 3/2013

A graceful, moving new collection by the author of The Report

How close can we come to love, success, happiness, forgiveness?

An older woman, irritated with her wealthy young neighbor’s yard “improvements,” offers a corner of her lawn to a Croatian immigrant who wants a vegetable garden. A recent college graduate living in New York City finds himself in a strangely entangled friendship with his dry cleaner and her son. A daughter accompanies her father to Israel, where, seeing a new side of him away from her mother, she makes an unusual bargain.

Through thirteen stories, some stand-alone, others woven with linked characters, Kane questions the tensions between friendship and neighborliness, home and travel, family and ambition. In writing filled with wit and humor and incredible poignancy, she deftly reveals the everyday patterns that, over time, can swerve a life off course.

Praise for This Close: Stories…

Praise for Jessica Francis Kane: 

“Jessica Francis Kane’s stories take place in what feels like Lorrie Moore and Alice Munro country—they smartly uncork the heartache, panic and frustration of characters caught in situations that expose their vulnerability.”—The New York Times Book Review 
“Neat, sharp, observant, and with a good ear, so that she hits the note every time…. She’s discerned the enormous gap between what people say and do, and what is actually going on inside them, and in that gap she moves swiftly and nimbly.”—Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall 

“Kane’s sparse but poignant writing satisfies, and our intimate access to her characters and their heartrending stories will convince even the optimist that some sad stories need telling.”—San Francisco Chronicle

The Report (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781555975654
Availability: Special Order - Price and Availability Subject to Change
Published: Graywolf Press, 8/2010

A stunning first novel that is an evocative reimagining of a World War II civilian disaster
On a March night in 1943, on the steps of a London Tube station, 173 people die in a crowd seeking shelter from what seemed to be another air raid. When the devastated neighborhood demands an inquiry, the job falls to magistrate Laurence Dunne.

In this beautifully crafted novel, Jessica Francis Kane paints a vivid portrait of London at war. As Dunne investigates, he finds the truth to be precarious, even damaging. When he is forced to reflect on his report several decades later, he must consider whether the course he chose was the right one. The Report is a provocative commentary on the way all tragedies are remembered and endured.


“[Kane] moves deftly among perspectives on the [Bethnal Green] catastrophe: We eavesdrop on war-battered townsfolk, the tardy policeman, the overburdened priest, the devastated shelter-chief who feels responsible. Kane's command of period detail is marvelous. . . . A deft, vivid first novel.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Kane skillfully reimagines the empathetic [Laurence] Dunne as he interprets the confessions and accusations of a community crushed by loss and guilt. . . . Meticulous historical detail and vivid descriptions of hunkered-down and rationed East Enders add a marvelous texture.” Publishers Weekly

“The Report is a graceful and dignified look at a single event that quickly becomes something so much more expansive: a kaleidoscopic examination of crowds, of disasters, of reverberations and reckoning.  I was absolutely riveted.” —Anthony Doerr, author of Memory Wall and The Shell Collector

“I began reading this story hoping it would aim my judgment at some one person who had made the fatal mistake. But The Report cracks that hope and replaces it—as only the bravest novels can do—with a vivid exploration of the events themselves in all their disquieting tangles. This book shows us that the single sin for which judgment hopes is a lie. The truth is not one misstep but a horde of them, hidden in a tunnel that this novel brilliantly excavates.” —Salvatore Scibona, author of The End  “An absorbing, thought-provoking first novel about a terrible civilian tragedy during wartime, The Report manages the delicate literary feat of being both a probing historical inquiry into a disaster, and a moving, multi-faceted portrait of a community under extreme duress. Jessica Francis Kane's authorial control of her material is impressive; the book's moral complexities linger long after the book is finished. A memorable debut.”—John Burnham Schwartz, author of The Commoner and Reservation Road “Elegantly written and suffused with insights into human motivation, The Report illuminates how we interpret and endure tragedy. This novel is engrossing both for the story it tells and the way it tells it. It is filled with small wonders and very hard to put down.” —Elise Blackwell, author of An Unfinished Score “Jessica Francis Kane's The Report is a stealthy, quiet page-turner that understands there is as much tension in reckoning a disaster as there is in the disaster itself. In precise and searching prose, The Report looks without flinching at moral obligation and family duty over seconds, and over years. It's a lovely book.” —Elizabeth McCracken, author of An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Praise for Jessica Francis Kane: 

“Neat, sharp, observant, and with a good ear, so that she hits the note every time… She's discerned the enormous gap between what people say and do, and what is actually going on inside them, and in that gap she moves swiftly and nimbly… An author to watch.” —Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall 


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