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The Bliss of Your Attention

Stories

David Borofka

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A powerful story collection that celebrates those who strive and fail and strive again.

If Joseph Campbell's dictum—"follow your bliss"—has become inspiration and goad, accusation and cliché, then the characters in David Borofka's The Bliss of Your Attention are all the more puzzled by what their futures portend. Their bliss is never clear nor independent of others, for the characters in these stories are ever in search of connection, understanding, and validation, even if the latter—unlike reality and cynicism—is in short supply.

As the narrator of "Live with It" tells her would-be novelist...

A powerful story collection that celebrates those who strive and fail and strive again.

If Joseph Campbell's dictum—"follow your bliss"—has become inspiration and goad, accusation and cliché, then the characters in David Borofka's The Bliss of Your Attention are all the more puzzled by what their futures portend. Their bliss is never clear nor independent of others, for the characters in these stories are ever in search of connection, understanding, and validation, even if the latter—unlike reality and cynicism—is in short supply.

As the narrator of "Live with It" tells her would-be novelist husband, "Learn to live with your disappointments." "I mean," she thinks, "I could give him the party line, you know, follow your bliss, etc., etc., but that's where the disappointments come from, don't they? I mean that's where bliss leads if you're no good at the thing that you think makes you happy." Borofka, whose collection A Longing for Impossible Things was selected by the American Book Fest as the 2021 winner of the American Fiction Award for the Short Story, masterfully charts the spectrum of human emotion and the difficulty of connection in these pages.

Hapless and bumbling though they may be, the characters in The Bliss of Your Attention continue to move forward despite all evidence to the contrary. As novelist Peter Manseau noted, "The comedy of seeking is rarely so sympathetically portrayed as in Borofka's hands; he captures perfectly the poignancy of dopey mortals dreaming and scheming to reach the divine."

Reviews

Reviews

It's easy to let yourself be lulled by a writer whose work you've been reading and admiring for more than thirty years. But every now and then one of your favorites surprises you in the most exhilarating way, and that's what David Borofka has done to me with this superb new collection. This is his best book yet, an absolutely spectacular collection, the crowning achievement of one of the best short story writers in this country or any other.

The bliss of David Borofka's writing is not only his multitude of characters in all their complex and tortured glory, but the author's voice on the page, both down to earth and reaching to the heavens. Examining the loopier aspects of uncelebrated lives, Borofka shows us ourselves and the commonality of our quiet desperations

With The Bliss of Your Attention, David Borofka has given us a master class in short-story writing, and he has managed this with a cast of characters that hasn't a whiff of charisma. I loved them all because they're rendered with compassion, dark humor, and the essential knowledge that a real writer holds about the human condition: we really don't understand each other at all, and the three most important words in any language are 'in spite of.'

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Book Details

Release Date
Publication Date
Status
Preorder
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
272
ISBN
9781421450544
Table of Contents

1. Domestic Arrangements: Live with It
2. The Surreal Nature of Money and Marriage
3. My Fresno Book of Death and Disposal
4. Shop Tools
5. Maybe...
6. The Stories of an Only Child
7. Domestic Arrangements

1. Domestic Arrangements: Live with It
2. The Surreal Nature of Money and Marriage
3. My Fresno Book of Death and Disposal
4. Shop Tools
5. Maybe...
6. The Stories of an Only Child
7. Domestic Arrangements: Orwell Had It Right
Acknowledgments

Author Bio
David Borofka
Featured Contributor

David Borofka

David Borofka (CLOVIS, CA) taught at Reedley College for more than thirty-five years before retiring in 2019. He now teaches in the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension. The author of Hints of His Mortality, A Longing for Impossible Things, and The Island, his work has appeared in Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, Shenandoah, Image, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere.