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Coming to Terms : A Literary Response to Abortion

The New Press ISBN 1-56584-188-3

Edited by Lucinda Ebersole & Richard Peabody

While it is not unusual for abortion to be considered in political and social terms, rarely is it thought of as a source of literary inspiration. But in fact dozens of leading literary figures have been moved to write about "coming to terms" with unexpected or unwanted pregnancies, and in so doing they have written some of their most inspired fiction. In this original and important book, Lucinda Ebersole and Richard peabody, the creative anthologizers who brought us Mondo Barbie and Mondo Elvis, have gathered together over a dozen short stories and fiction excerpts that remind us what is most important in this hotly contested "civil war"-the people and circumstances behind the headlines. In "Cora Unashamed," Langston Hughes writes of the Sturdevant's maid, Cora, who loses her livelihood but not her honor when she publicly decries the abortion the family forces upon their "shamed" daughter. In Amy Hempel's very contemporary story, "Beg Sl, Tog, Inc, Cont, Rep," a woman deals with her recent abortion by knitting piles of baby sweaters. The broad scope of literary talent-the contributors come from all over the world and from a variety of political perspectives-coupled with a topic that elicits heated ebate make Coming to Terms a must-read for anyone interested in this, our must publicly debated, yet extremely private, issue. Nonpartisan in its focus, this collection transcends the political polarities that limit most discussions of abortion and confirms literature's ability to empower, comfort, and transform more effectively than any rhetoric that has yet to grace our opinion or editorial pages. Contributors include: Richard Brautigan, Babs H. Deal, Joan Didion, Zoe Fairbains, William Faulkner, Ellen Gilchrist, Amy Hempel, Langston Hughes, Audre Lorde, Gloria Naylor, Fyodor Sologub, Kathleen Spivack, Caroline Thompson, and Alice Walker. "Dozens of short story and fiction excerpts provide a literary response to abortion, going beyond the usual medical focus to gather the varied literary reflections of such notable writers as Langston Hughes, Richard Brautigan and Gloria Naylor." --Midwest Book Review

"[Coming to Terms] makes the abortion issue very personal, and also shows the variety of feelings we all experience on this issue."-Feminist Bookstore News

"One of the great virtues of this collection is that none of the writers take a political or moral stance on the issue. But they do graphically write about the stark and painful realities surrounding abortions, both then and now. . . giving the reader a new perspective, both historical and personal."-The Improper Bostonian

"Timely and useful."-Tonic

"The emotional consequences of abortion are poignantly portrayed."-Book Report

"These poignant stories won't end the abortion controversy, but they might prompt deeper reflection from all participants."-Philadelphia Inquirer

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