Winner, Towson Prize for Literature, Maryland
Fiction. "[Ron Tanner] is fabulously imaginative, experimental, witty, often breathtaking...both male and female voices are handled beautifully, although the prose is what we've come to call 'muscular.' At first I felt that this was actually two collections, one concerned with life as we know it and one as we fear it will be--but came to believe that the worlds are perfectly married through their askew inventiveness and their witty contemporary language. It's very assured and audacious work" --Janet Burroway, 2002 Judge, Chandra Prize.
Editorial ReviewsReviewThis is a surprisingly strong first collection. Tanner's subject matter is explored with compassion and an unwavering eye. Naomi Millan --Foreword Magazine A Bed of Nails is a wonderfully entertaining book from a writer whose imagination is able to look in just about any direction. It is an impressive debut. Michael Czyzniejewski --Mid-American Review A well made short story is a wondrous thing and Ron Tanner's stories in this collection are very well made. There isn't a finer collection out there than this one. --- Ruth Moose --The Pilot Ron Tanner's debut story collection presents an interesting and timely juxtaposition of moods and genres: straightforward realism mingles with dystopian surrealism. Pedro Ponce --Rain TaxiFrom the Inside FlapRon Tanner is fabulously imaginative, experimental, witty, often breathtaking. The series of "Revolutionary Militia" stories that thread the collection, and which are not science fiction so much as eco-fiction, have an eerie convincingness. Both male and female voices are handled beautifully, although the prose is what we’ve come to call "muscular." At first I felt that this was actually two collections, one concerned with life as we know it and one as we fear it will be—but came to believe that the worlds are perfectly married through their askew inventiveness and their witty contemporary language. It’s very assured and audacious work." Janet Burroway Ron Tanner is a writer with versatility, elegance, and wit to burn, but in the end his greatest gift is his ability to penetrate the hearts of whatever characters he's chosen to inhabit and take us in there with him. When we return to hearts of our own, they feel just that much larger. A Bed of Nails remains one of the most beautifully strange and unpredictably moving story collections I have ever read. Julia Glass The stories in Ron Tanner’s wonderfully ingenious and diverse collection create a whole new image of the complex interrelationships between art and life. A Bed of Nails is a rigorous pleasure. Madison Smartt Bell Ron Tanner has a talent for creating stories that provoke his characters and readers to come to terms with risks—physical, emotional, and political. A compelling collection. Susan Hubbard Assignment:combine the tender realism and precise social observation of an Alice Adams with the wild machinations of a Donald Barthelme. Logically impossible, you say? Not for Ron Tanner, as his startling debut collection—with its clever premises, moving material and wildly imaginative details—proves.
In these thirteen diverse and nimble stories Ron Tanner juxtaposes raging tales of war with intense daily dramas where the dangers are more to the spirit than the body. The four war stories - which could be set in many countries - present a grueling, tender, unsentimental portrait of a family fragmented by struggle against dictatorship. In his wry, unblinking style, Tanner also writes about a saleswoman looking for love in a shopping mall; a Hollywood monster actor searching for his identity; a drummer who chooses between human love and artistic devotion. Tanner's approach is always enlighteningly unpredictable as he explores themes of longing, loss and survival.
Resonant and lyrical tales of the dangers and frustrations of life at all ages. —Kirkus Reviews One Gerard character says that “childhood is a dangerous country, and not all of us...
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