The Necessity of Certain Behaviors

A wonderfully different and satisfying short story collection, each story offering up more on subsequent reads. Cain approaches familiar situations—love, loss, shame—from unfamiliar angles, in unique ways, and her stories leave a mark on the reader. Congratulations to the Drue Heinz Literature Prize judges, and thank you, for bringing us not only Shannon Cain's stories, but for every book you have brought to publication that may otherwise not have been born.
The Short Review
Winner, 2011 Drue Heinz Literature Prize

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Winner of the 2011 Drue Heinz Literature Prize

Shannon Cain’s stories chart the treacherous territory of the illicit. They expose the absurdity of our rituals, our definitions of sexuality, and above all, our expectations of happiness and self-fulfillment. Cain’s protagonists are destined to suffer—and sometimes enjoy—the consequences of their own restless discontent. In the title story, Lisa, a city dweller, is dissatisfied with her life and relationships. Her attempt at self-rejuvenation takes her on a hiking excursion through a foreign land. Lisa discovers a remote village where the ritualized and generous bisexual love of its inhabitants entrances her. She begins to abandon thoughts of home. In “Cultivation,” Frances, a divorced mother strapped with massive credit card debt, has become an expert at growing pot. When she packs her three children and twelve pounds of homegrown into the minivan and travels cross-country to sell the stash, their journey becomes one of anguish, revelation, and ultimately transformation. “Cultivation,” like many of the stories in The Necessity of Certain Behaviors, follows a trail of broken relationships and the unfulfilled promises of modern American life. Told in precise, evocative prose, these memorable stories illuminate the human condition from a compelling, funny, and entirely original perspective.

160 Pages, 5.5 x 8 in.

September, 2011

isbn : 9780822944102

about the author

Shannon Cain

Shannon Cain is coeditor of Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the O. Henry Prize, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Tin House, Colorado Review, New England Review, American Short Fiction, and Southword: New Writing from Ireland. She has taught fiction writing at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University and is the 2011 Picador Guest Professor in Literature at the University of Leipzig.

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Shannon Cain