The Truly Needy And Other Stories

Whether depicting a troubled teenager with a crush on her high school English teacher, an immigrant from Guatemala who cleans rooms at the Plaza Hotel or a lonely beauty salon employee who human ties consist principally of those she imagines with fellow subway riders, Lucy Honig draws the characters in her first collection with deft, sympathetic strokes. Most of the book's nine stories are set in or near Manhattan. In a series of interlocking stories entitled, The Truly Needy Honig brings a group of unrelated people—a social service organization director with a midlife crisis, her secretary, a Cambodian refugee who is haunted by her past, a homeless couple and actors filing a scene about life on the street—into uncanny relationships with one another. Along the way, she illustrates how the social boundaries that separate us are so often dependent on chance. Honig's characters never degenerate into types or sink into self-pity, but soldier on, displaying courage in untenable situations and compassion where we might least expect to find it.
New York Times Book Review
Winner, 1999 Drue Heinz Literature Prize

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These nine stories are teeming with people on the margins, where destitute New Yorkers and determined immigrants are as much at the mercy of social services, media attention, opportunistic politicians, and “quality-of-life” campaigns as they are prey to grinding poverty, dangerous streets, and their own haunting memories. Delving into Lucy Honig’s fiction, one is willingly drawn into an intimacy with these resilient, but flawed characters—among them, a woman who cleans a beauty salon, a high school kid who’s lost a parent, a runaway Cambodian bride, an actress, and a homeless woman. Crossing paths, these difficult characters often misunderstand and sometimes demean each other, yet they also redeem and rescue one other in odd and unexpected ways. In The Truly Needy, Lucy Honig has created a heartbreaking, imaginative world that is the American urban landscape.

216 Pages, 5.5 x 9 in.

March, 2002

isbn : 9780822957812

about the author

Lucy Honig

Lucy Honig‘s stories have appeared in two O. Henry Prize story collections, and in Best American Short Stories, as well as in DoubleTake, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Witness, Agni, and other magazines. Her first novel, Picking Up, was published by Dog Ear Press. She has received the D. H. Lawrence Fellowship and a Northwood Institute Creativity Center Fellowship. For many years she juggled writing with work that ranged from farming in the Maine woods and teaching English to immigrants in Brooklyn to directing a county human rights commission in upstate New York. Since 1995 she has taught in the graduate program in International Health at Boston University’s School of Public Health. She lives just outside of Boston.

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Lucy Honig