Nevai, Lucia 1945-
Nevai, Lucia 1945-
Born 1945. Ethnicity: "White."
Iowa Short Fiction Award, University of Iowa Press, 1987, for Star Game; Iowa Award for Literature, Iowa Review, 2001, for "Faith Healer"; PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, for "Temp."
Star Game (short stories), University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 1987.
Normal: Stories (short stories), Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 1997.
Seriously (novel), Little, Brown and Co. (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to anthologies, including The Iowa Award: The Best Stories from Twenty Years, University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 1990; The Way We Write Now: Short Stories from the AIDS Crisis, edited by Sharon Oard Warner, Citadel Press (New York, NY), 1995; Best of the South, selected by Anne Tyler, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005; My Father Married Your Mother: Writers Talk about Stepparents, Stepchildren, and Everyone in Between, edited by Anne Burt, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2006; and Best of Tin House, Tin House Books (Portland, OR), 2006. Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including New Yorker, Glimmer Train, Phantasmagoria, Vignette, Prairie Schooner, Iowa Review, New England Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Gulf Coast, and Another Chicago Magazine.
Lucia Nevai won acclaim for her short stories when she received the Iowa Short Fiction Award for Star Game. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted the competence of the stories, with some reservations. Best in the collection, according to the critic, are the stories "The Nile," a "fully fleshed" tale of a woman who realizes she has never loved her husband; "Baby Wood," an "unpretentious" story of a girl approaching adolescence; and "Mr. Feathers," a story of an illicit affair, which the Kirkus Reviews critic noted for its "Dreiser-toned naturalism."
A decade later, a second collection, Normal: Stories, was published. More than one reviewer noted that the characters in Nevai's stories are often bizarre. The twelve stories deal with interpersonal dysfunction and have been described as, in the main, short, terse, and witty. A Publishers Weekly contributor believed that some stories displayed "obvious symbolism" or unconvincing narrative voices, nevertheless, she stated that "Nevai is clearly a writer of uncommon potency and reach." A Kirkus Reviews critic believed that some of the stories needed further development, while others displayed cynicism or glibness. However, the reviewer noted that "the strongest stories here make it clear that Nevai is a real talent with a ready wit and a steady gaze."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Detour, May, 1997, Lawrence Schubert, review of Normal: Stories, p. 152.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 1987, review of Star Game, p. 1346; February 15, 1997, review of Normal, p. 249.
New York Times Book Review, May 25, 1997, Lisa Zeidner, review of Normal; July 25, 2004, Mark Kamine, review of Seriously; August 8, 2004, review of And Bear in Mind, p. 18; August 15, 2004, review of And Bear in Mind, p. 14.
Publishers Weekly, February 10, 1997, review of Stories, p. 64.
Washington Post Book World, September 7, 1997, review of Normal, p. 4.