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A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts: Stories
A Travel Guide for Restless Hearts
$15.95
Paperback
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BOOK DETAILS

  • Paperback
  • Sep.15.2009
  • 9780873517676
  • Borealis Books

Nicole gives an overview of the book:

A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts is a collection of stories, rooted in theMidwest and cultivated in the Deep South, for those of us who suddenlyfind ourselves tourists in our own lives. Reminiscent of the work of Lorrie Moore and Jill McCorkle, this ten-storycollection features the sweetly offbeat love story “Jubilation, Florida,”where two highly unlikable people share dairy products, and “TheFaithful,” a funny yet tender story about a family torn apart by their beautifulmother, Kitty, who will not give up her coyote fur or cat’s-eye sunglassesfor anything. We also meet landlocked mermaids and a twistedCamp Fire Girl troop who will do anything to sell the most P-Nuttles inhistory. The collection offers four new stories, including the riotous “TheLast Rites,” featuring Zimmer, a rock idol who “had always wanted to beburied in his 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible”...
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A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts is a collection of stories, rooted in the
Midwest and cultivated in the Deep South, for those of us who suddenly
find ourselves tourists in our own lives.

Reminiscent of the work of Lorrie Moore and Jill McCorkle, this ten-story
collection features the sweetly offbeat love story “Jubilation, Florida,”
where two highly unlikable people share dairy products, and “The
Faithful,” a funny yet tender story about a family torn apart by their beautiful
mother, Kitty, who will not give up her coyote fur or cat’s-eye sunglasses
for anything. We also meet landlocked mermaids and a twisted
Camp Fire Girl troop who will do anything to sell the most P-Nuttles in
history. The collection offers four new stories, including the riotous “The
Last Rites,” featuring Zimmer, a rock idol who “had always wanted to be
buried in his 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible” and is not disappointed.
Kelby’s stories have appeared on National Public Radio’s “Selected
Shorts,” on NPR’s CD Travel Tales, and in New Stories from the South: The
Year’s Best, 2006.

Read an excerpt »

As heard on National Public Radio's "Selected Shorts" and featured in New Stories from the South: The Best of 2006.

JUBILATION, FLORIDA
It's not a good idea. Nordan and Sara both know it.  Both are over forty. Both love their spouses. Both are drunk. Both naked––and not thin. Both wonder if the other is lying when they say, nearly simultaneously, "I’ve never done this before."
And they’re friends¬––or think they are. It’s difficult to tell. They were total strangers before they checked into adjoining hotel rooms in Jubilation; a planned community featuring Key West-styled homes in sherbet colors with white picket fences. The resort is Gingerbread Victorian, with a permit-only beach where the sand is raked into traditional Zen patterns three times a day. There are no homeless people in Jubilation. No tattoo shops. There’s nothing sordid, or dangerous. You can’t even walk down the side streets unless you have security clearance; surveillance cameras are everywhere. It’s not the kind of place you’d have an affair in.
But here they are, naked––and a little cold. It’s off-season.
“Two things before we go any further,” Nordan says––all business, all courage, all confidence. In the moonlight, his goose bumps are disconcerting; make him look a little like a plucked turkey.
“I want to be clear.  My wife is so great; I don’t even have a pool because I’m afraid she’d run off with the pool guy.  Mary Anne is the most glorious control freak on Earth. Kicked my ass into shape.  I have to warn you, if she finds out about this, she’ll hunt you down like a feral dog and chew your heart out.”
 Sara is unfazed. Doesn’t even blink. “That’s a given,” she says.  “More bourbon?”  She pours the last of it before he can answer. Nordan takes a mouthful, swallows it so fast he coughs.
An alarmed look passes over Sara’s face. “We don’t have to do this.”
“No. I want you. I want to.“
“So, what’s the second thing?”
 “The second thing is that I would never leave my wife. For all her goofy shit, she’s fierce. Not many women like that anymore.”
Sara is relieved.  She takes a sip from Nordan’s glass, looks at him closely––the plucked skin, the pleading eyes, the ‘What the Hell am I doing?’ look on his face. She has no idea how she’s going to explain this to her therapist.
“Okay,” she says. “There are two things you should know.”
“Fair enough.”
 “First, my husband is the kindest, most gentle man I have ever met. I clearly don’t deserve him. He’s like a surfing, golfing St. Francis of Assisi.  If he ever finds out, he may want to kill you, but he’s so kind-hearted, and not very well organized, so he couldn’t pull it off.  I’d have to do it. I’m kind of his ‘go-to’ guy.  Just thought you should know.”
“Noted. The second thing?”
“Well, afterwards, I’m planning to burn your body and sprinkle your ashes on my roses. “
“Makes sense.”
“Absolutely. Bone marrow is a superior fertilizer, plus I’ve kind of gotten kind of used to you hanging around––so, it would be the best of both worlds,” she says, then corrects. “Well, for me of course. You’d be mulch.“
 It is at this moment that Nordan realizes why people should not talk before having sex.

nicole-mary-kelby's picture

Here's my favorite blurb from the book:

"N. M. Kelby has long been one of my favorite writers, and her new story collection, A TRAVEL GUIDE FOR RECKLESS HEARTS, is the sweet, pure, hilarious, sneakily profound essence of her. We ache and we laugh: this is the experience of reading N. M. Kelby just as it is the experience of living in the 21st century."

Robert Olen Butler. His short-story collection, A GOOD SCENT FROM A STRANGE MOUNTAIN, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1993.

About Nicole

White Truffles in Winter: A Novel (forthcoming W.W.Norton),The Constant Art of Being A Writer: The Life, Art & Business of Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books), A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts: Stories, Murder at the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill...

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