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Three stories are collected in this edition for the first time: in “Alma,” an adolescent daughter is made the confidant of her lonely mother; “Counting” traces the history of a doomed love affair, and “Callie” evokes memories of the haunting death of a child in 1920s West Virginia. Along with the original seven stories from Fast Lanes—each told in extraordinary first person narratives that have been hailed by critics as virtuoso performances—these incandescent portraits offer windows into the lives of an entire generation of Americans, demonstrating again and again why Jayne Anne Phillips remains one of our most powerful writers.


“Jayne Anne Phillips is the best short story writer since Eudora Welty.”
—Nadine Gordimer

“Haunting…Brilliant…Phillips writes from the inside of emotional maelstroms.”
The Boston Globe

“Ms. Phillips’s ear is almost unerring….as ever, she writes beautifully, capturing elusive moods with startling images and scenes.”
—Michicko Kakutani, The New York Times

“The author’s sympathy, her ability to imagine herself into the feelings of very different kinds of people, in no way lessens a precision that we are more used to finding at cooler temperatures….The stories in Fast Lanes frequently hover on the edge of poetry.”
Los Angeles Book Review

“One of our most fascinating and gritty writers. . . . [Phillips’s] keenest asset is her ear, her ability to make art out of the desperate nervous voices in the nether corners of America.”
–The Washington Post

“Phillips is first-rate at first-person narration. In Fast Lanes she adopts distinct voice after voice, and she’s equally adept at all of them.”
USA Today

“Phillips weds a bittersweet, lyric prose style with stories that count on our hearts. Scenes from these stories will haunt me for a long time.”
Chicago Tribune

“Judging from this collection, it seems as if there’s nothing Phillips can’t do …a tremendously talented writer working to the limit of her powers.”
Publishers Weekly

“Phillips has a gift….She resists literary voices to discover real ones….In the streets, the rooms, the truck cabs of her own time, Phillips fares well—in no small part because she hears well.”
St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Phillips sustains her myriad voices until their words roll with the angry cadences of sex or music….It’s a kind of dream surfing….A writer of immense perception, her world view tarnished and yet undiminished by the fragmented reality she presents.”
The Boston Globe

“Fast Lanes is a collection that you’ll remember having bought, immediately after you read it, for the pain and discomfort and often pulsating beauty it brings. Years later you will remember it as that volume by the writer Jayne Anne Phillips, who may well become one of our national treasures….You can see the talent grow and flex its muscles and open its throat to reach notes in practice that few of us get to hit when trying our hardest at the height of our powers….From the smallest point (beautiful sentences such as this one: “The pale salve of the polish was drying to a chalky glaze on the spoons….”) on through the largest issues (the way this writer can make you feel love and desire and pain and the mournfulness that comes of conjuring up lost times), Phillips weds a bittersweet, lyric prose style with stories that count on our hearts.”
–Alan Cheuse, The Chicago Tribune