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  • Little, Brown US

Excuse Me While I Disappear: Stories

Joanna Scott

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Short stories

From Pulitzer Prize finalist and "greatly gifted and highly original artist" Joanna Scott, a masterful collection of stories about the timeless, universal struggle to connect (New York Times).

Joanna Scott, author of ten critically acclaimed novels, now turns her "incandescent imagination" (Publishers Weekly) back to the craft of the short story, with breathtaking results. Ranging across history from the distant past to the future, Scott tours the many forms our stories can take, from cave wall paintings to radio banter to digitized archives, and the far-reaching consequences of our communications.

In Venice in the Late Middle Ages, a painter's apprentice finds a way to make his mark on canvases that will survive for centuries. In the near future, after the literary canon has been preserved only on the cloud and then lost, a scholar tries to piece together a little-known school of writers committed to using actual paper. In present day New England, a radio host invites his electrician to stay for dinner, opening up new narrative possibilities for both men.

Written in prose so naturally elegant, smooth, and precise that it becomes invisible, Excuse Me While I Disappear asks what remains of our stories--as individuals and civilizations--after we are gone.

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