In Tourist Season, award-winning author Enid Shomer offers ten brilliant, richly detailed unforgettable stories of resilient women, aged seventeen to seventy, each at a pivotal point in her life. Their journeys cross distances of place and mind: A middle-aged Floridian who learns that she is the reincarnation of a Buddhist saint takes daring steps on her path to enlightenment; a long-buried secret forces one woman to leave the daughter she deeply loves; a Radcliffe student faces shocking family truths and taboos during the summer of 1966; an unexpected kinship forms between two women who land in a county jail after an excursion to Las Vegas. These travelers wander through shifting emotional landscapes of love, sex, and relationships, and often miss the destinations they’d wished to reach–of insight, connection, and understanding. Whether journeying to new geographical locales or exploring uncharted personal terrain, Tourist Season offers a provocative, engaging, and often humorous road map of the heart and soul.
“[When reading Enid Shomer’s stories,] the thing one quickly senses is the will and the voice, someone saying, in effect, ‘Relax, be comfortable, I’m going to take good care of you.’ These are very fine stories.”
–James Salter, in Imaginary Men
“Beautifully made, surprising and inevitable, wonderfully inventive and deeply true, these stories are full of small, irreverent, straight-faced miracles. They will lead women of all ages to suspect that the best may be yet to come.”
––Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness and Sight Hound
Being away from home is a transformative experience for the women in this second collection by Iowa Short Fiction Award winner Shomer (for Imaginary Men); 10 stories travel from Sweetheart, Fla., to Dharamsala, India, and range from the fantastical to the mundane. In the strongest story, "Fill in the Blank," 20-year-old Florida transplant Garland McKenney and her roommate, Linda, rob a Manhattan physical therapy office. The guilt weighs heavier on Linda, but it is Garland's confused moral compass that resonates. "Sweethearts," about Garland's high school affair with the local sheriff, explores the roots of Garland's criminal tendencies. Shomer has a knack for ferreting out the disappointment of aging, as in the title story, in which Frieda realizes she resents the company of her recently retired husband. Less accomplished are Shomer's stabs at out-there material. In the awkward and opening story, "Chosen," Iris, a speech therapist, discovers she is a Buddhist saint, while "Laws of Nature" features a woman who ages in reverse, la Max Tivoli. The collection will appeal to Shomer's readership, but will do little to attract new eyes.