Sherman, Rachel 1975-
Sherman, Rachel 1975-
Born 1975. Education: Bard College, B.A.; Columbia University, M.F.A., 2003.
The First Hurt: Stories, Open City Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to various publications including Mc-Sweeney's, Open City, Post Road, Conjunctions, n+1, and Story Quarterly, in addition to the book Full Frontal Fiction: The Best of Nerve Anthology, Three Rivers Press (New York, NY), 2000.
As a graduate student at Columbia University, short-fiction writer Rachel Sherman's thesis involved a compilation of her stories. After graduating with a master of fine arts degree, Sherman combined a number of pieces from her original thesis with several newly written stories. The collection was ultimately published by Open City Books as The First Hurt: Stories. The book's protagonists are teenagers or young adults, struggling in their own dysfunctional ways with typical coming-of-age issues. In an interview with Powells.com, Sherman summarized the book's overriding theme: "The stories are about people who are going through adolescence, pursuing and avoiding sexual experiences, and having conflict in families or relationships. It is also about skin, hair, and deformities."
A contributor to Kirkus Reviews wrote: "The author renders her subjects clearly and empathetically, and her airy, poetic prose is a perfect match for the brittle environments she describes." Brooklyn Rail reviewer Caroline Seklir commented: "The First Hurt is a satisfying read, despite the fact that so many of Sherman's characters are fundamentally unsatisfied. She has mastered short declarative sentences, … which manage information and nuance. To her credit, Sherman accomplishes much with few words, shaping back-story with precise moves to form a history that feels complete." Michael Miller wrote in a review for Time Out New York: "Full of great, quirky lines, the book would be a good read even if it did condescend to its flawed characters, but it doesn't." NewPages.com contributor Miles Clark noted: "This collection's maturity and restraint are truly impressive."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2006, review of The First Hurt: Stories, p. 259.
Brooklyn Rail,http://www.brooklynrail.org/ (November 13, 2006), Caroline Seklir, review of The First Hurt.
The First Hurt Web Site,http://www.thefirsthurt.com (November 13, 2006).
Time Out New York,http://www.timeoutny.com/ (May 4-10, 2006), Michael Miller, "Suburban Blight: Rachel Sherman Sets Her Dark Tales in Picket-Fence America."*