178 pages - to be published February 2016
soft full-colour cover: a novella ISBN: 978-1-925101-69-0 US $14.00, plus shipping
A taste of 'dear Petrov'
Or is this something only women fall prey to, down on their knees, clutched for prayer that doesn’t answer.– from White to Blue
I could sit naked in front of the river and feel the cold for an hour or six and not be afraid. – from Milliseconds
dear Petrov! Whatever could be moving across your mind? What oceans and stars, what guiding path? – from dear Petrov
I can forgive your intolerance. Your lack of empathy. Your disdain for my horse that hovers.– from Battlefield
The mold having what type of odor, dear Petrov. I am sensitive to smell. – from Decay
I spend most cold nights riding my horse through the house. Clutching his burning neck. – from Lace Square
When I leave the house to gather fallen apples, the locket soothes my neck like a lover’s kiss. – from Locket
I stopped just inside the doorway. This array of sweetness biting my nostrils, my skin. Rather drenching me. –from Perfume
I can ride my horse through the parlor into the dining room, our heads this close. Our joint breathing coming up whisky. –from Between
A man brushes me, rough, and I return to this place. Gored and suffering. – from Stained
Once I saw lily of the valley in a tree crotch swollen from rain. – from Wrested
Must it always be about money and power. – from Rubble
But of course I don’t bring this up. Instead I follow you into the parlor, help with your boots. – from Deserter
Can this be fair? Shouldn’t a woman know every plate and piece of cutlery stored in her cupboards? – from Red Plate
You called this a vindictive act saying it is a blood lake now. And how could you be expected to participate in such a spectacle. – from Lake Trees
Picking up several dotted with gnarled eyes, I studied one in my palm. As if this common thing held the secrets of the universe behind its scarred hide. – from Seven
But when has a new gown arrived boxed and festooned in ribbons on the doorstep? – from Instructions
Must the way be slow like up sheer rock? I don’t see the point of such secrecy. – from Egypt
Of course I cannot remove my stockings so I proceed with caution. Assuring myself I’ll soon be safely home. – from Softest
One move and it was winter again without coal. My coat shedding at its sleeves. The hem trailing through melting snow. – from Child-Bride
As if a wolf had entered my body. Determined. Wolf to wolf we become. – from Bathing
I am light of mind. Misery can bring a touch of lightness to the most stolid of creatures. – from Forget
You had smiled, rather delighted with yourself; you said the wine waited to be drunk. – from In Waiting
There is no peace in this land. Soldiers such as yourself gathering in the square. They fill the smoky taverns with noise and music.– from Black
Drinking in crowded rooms where steam curls the edges of my hair. I remember you taking a strand of it in your mouth. – from A Tree in My Sink
WORDS IN PLACE
JOURNEY TO PLANET WRITE:
Up, Up, and Awaaay
by Susan Tepper
It was never my intention to become a writer. From a really early age I wanted to be an actress. At seventeen I went to NYC for drama classes. They were held in the Carnegie Hall annex building and they were incredible.
Jeffrey Miller reviews dear Petrov—
Early in Susan Tepper's brilliant collection of short fiction, dear Petrov, her unnamed narrator asks, "Dear Petrov. Can you not take in, just out of range, a lady of wistful yearning. Who, by her own submission, adores you out of reach." And so begins a mesmerizing and poignant spiritual journey into the heart and soul of a woman whose world has been turned upside down by the man she's enamored with. We're not sure if she's waiting for her lover to come home from war or perhaps if he's ever coming back. However, that's not important. Although we the reader are not sure who he is that doesn't make any difference because Petrov represents all the want in this world; he becomes the embodiment of one's hopes, fears, desires, loneliness, loves, successes, and failures.
The language is rich and evocative. Open up the book and choose any story and you will be moved by Tepper's use of language and emotions evoked by the imagery. "I have grown my fingers into claws, in order to shimmy up trees and watch for you," she writes in "Shimmy" which exudes narrator's deep-rooted longing for Petrov. "All day I watch for you. I hang by my nails dug into tree bark. The forest is summer tangle, while I'm this cawing bird." This is brilliant writing. We, as the reader, get caught up in the gamut of emotions and imagery from one story to the next.
These are stories to savor and reflect upon over and over again. I haven't been moved by a collection of stories like these in a very long time. There's a reason for that. In the end, dear Petrov speaks for us all.
Susan Tepper Talks About Her
Latest Release ‘dear Petrov’
Susan Tepper has been a writer for twenty years and dear Petrov (Pure Slush Books, 2016) is her sixth book. An award-winning author, Tepper’s stories, poems, interviews and essays have been published worldwide. Her column ‘Let’s Talk’ runs monthly at Black Heart magazine. She is the founder and host of FIZZ, a reading series at KGB Bar, NYC, sporadically ongoing these past eight years. She lives in the New York area with her husband and her dog, Otis.
What people are saying about 'dear Petrov'
Review of Susan Tepper’s dear Petrov —By Alex Pruteanu February 05, 2016
I hesitate to call Susan Tepper’s dear Petrov (Pure Slush Books) a novel; if anything it reaches closest to that magical, ethereal and mysterious realm we call poetry, though I also hesitate to call the sixty-four connected, half-page pieces poems, for taken altogether, they construct a beautiful whole that can very well be a novel. And yet…I hesitate…yes, now I’m repeating, having thoroughly locked myself into a savagely incoherent loop. This is so mostly because this book defies a label, and any fool (like this one) who undertakes the futile task of reviewing Tepper’s offering will be left verbally challenged—doomed to spin his wheels in perpetuity, trapped in a circle of babbling nonsense as witnessed above. The closest we can come to pegging down dear Petrovis “a work of art.” READ MORE...
Welcoming Susan Tepper – Dear Petrov
Susan Tepper is definitely one of the nicest people I’ve never met and is a wonderful supporter of other people’s work (here’s a brilliant interview I gave to her for Black Heart magazine). She’s a great writer too.
And she has a new book out, Dear Petrov, and it’s a delight to have her over here to talk about it. Over to Susan…
Susan Tepper’s dear Petrov is a collection of small stories written from an unnamed woman’s point of view. The reader is never sure that Petrov actually exists. And in the end it’s not important. What matters is that Tepper treats the reader to beautiful language expressing the hopes, fears and despair each of us wants to convey to another. And, as is the case in dear Petrov, that other may not exist. –Simon Perchik, author of Hands Collected
Reading Susan Tepper’s masterful flash fiction narrative, I am reminded of the great prose fabulists, and, at the same time, the surrealist poets. There is a strangeness here that is, somehow, through literary alchemy perhaps, comfortable, even welcoming. It’s a push-pull that is both ecstatic and melancholy. At one point she says, ‘Assuring myself I’ll soon be safely home. Dear Petrov I have never felt safe at home.’ Tepper is adept at these casual shifts. And all the shiny, elegant pieces of dear Petrov cohere: it’s novelistic, yet not a novella. And that is part of its wonder, part of its delight. Paraphrasing what Updike said of Calvino, ‘Susan Tepper dreams perfect dreams for us’. –Corey Mesler, author of Memphis Movie
These flash epistle pieces are micro masterpieces of metaphor, longing, and almost manic obsession. Tepper captures a woman’s obsession over the object of her affection, with an inspired flourish, that will haunt the reader long after he or she has turned over the last page.
– Doug Holder, Lecturer in Creative Writing, Endicott College
In Susan Tepper’s story collection dear Petrov, the writing transcends flash fiction and presents to the reader something humane and unforgettable. This book moved me in a way I haven’t been moved by fiction in many years. –James Claffey, author of Blood a Cold Blue
The shimmering gems that crystallize in Susan Tepper's dear Petrov are rich and deeply faceted. Connected fictions, this collection is bizarre and full of artistry, passion, and other-worldliness. You must not miss it. – Bonnie ZoBell, author of What Happened Here
It’s exciting to have your work nominated for honors, and it’s even better when you’re genuinely rooting for your competition to win even if you don’t. It’s like having two horses in the race for the price of a single bet. And while there are no sure things in the racing world, I bet you’ll enjoy Dear Petrov, Susan Tepper’s new book due out from Pure Slush on Groundhog Day this year. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Susan about her life and work. READ MORE...
Books to Love is a monthly column where we invite authors to introduce one of their books to our DIGGING readers. This month we invited Susan Tepper to chat about her new book, dear Petrov .—
In 10 words or less, give us a hint of the plot?
dear Petrov concerns a woman’s examination of her life & times.
What words would you use to evoke images from your book?
A mountain, whisky, weaponry, sex, deprivations, a horse, lake, sage, bats, weeds, floorboards, battlefield, birches, blood, shadows.
What overall question or mystery will readers encounter?
Why do some people endure the insufferable and for how long can they endure?