Jenn Scott hails from Pennsylvania and received her MFA in fiction from the University of
Pittsburgh. Since then, she has waited on countless tables and has published stories in such journals as Gettysburg Review, Santa Monica Review, Cincinnati Review, Gulf Coast, Los Angeles Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Fiction. She lives and writes and eats and drinks in Oakland, California, with four cats and a husband. Currently, she is revising a novel spanning nearly eighty years and set in the Rockridge district of Oakland.
Her Adult Life: Stories
The characters who populate Jenn Scott’s debut collection are both trapped and adrift. Stuck in dead-end jobs or stagnant relationships or simply caught in the grip of their own inertia, they opt out, act out, and strike out, searching for emotional sustenance in a landscape of pointless patterns and dwindling hopes. Cuttingly clever remarks and excoriating observations act as shields—thrown up to protect an aching vulnerability, a bewildering sense of loss . . . of being lost in a world rife with expectations, where responsibility is ritualistic and meaning elusive.
“The beauty of being young was, in fact, the ability to project all that might happen. She recognizes, suddenly, how less grandiose the projection of her plans has become. It’s like she was once standing looking an expanse of field, but now she’s trapped in a hallway hung with too many pastel prints of landscapes that refuse to interest her. It’s as if she’s moved her entire life inside a dental office, minus the gas that sings a person to sleep while their cavities are filled, their roots fixed.”
Assumed identities, Russian mail-order brides, pie theft, lost (and found) cleavers, coworkers who commit murder, the sudden ballooning of breasts, conversations with the (surprisingly opinionated) vegetables in a restaurant’s walk-in cooler: in stories sharply funny and deeply poignant, situations that delight and discomfit, Scott explores “the complicated, or simple, ways in which we settle.”
192 pp., 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
ISBN 978-1-946724-02-1 (pbk)
ISBN 978-1-946724-05-2 (e-book)
PRAISE FOR HER ADULT LIFE
Longlisted for the PEN America Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction
A promising collection that offers a necessary glimpse into lives often left unexamined. —Kirkus Reviews
[Scott] draws poignant and memorable figures who often form unlikely and often temporary alliances against the loneliness and misery that constantly threaten to overwhelm them. —Jeff Gundy, The Georgia Review
Scott’s riveting emotional book stands out for the strength of its writing and for its portraits of small town waitresses, factory workers and fast food restaurant managers not often seen in contemporary fiction. In all these stories, Scott pays attention to gender and class but never reduces her characters to their sociological status. —Mary Lannon, Necessary Fiction
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