Elizabeth Cox   Bargains in the Real World  
Elizabeth Cox    
Interview with Elizabeth Cox

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"Only in art can the mistakes of our lives be measured with such grace and forgiveness, or redeemed through such close attention."
--The New Yorker, on Bargains in the Real World

In Elizabeth Cox's "The Last Fourth Grade", a woman brings her nine-year-old daughter on weekly visits to Mrs. Johnson, the young mother's fourth-grade-teacher, who is incarcerated for life for the murder of her husband. This story incorporates two of the cohesive themes in Cox's otherwise diverse collection, Bargains in the Real World: the ephemeral nature of life and the importance of personal ritual.

The characters in Cox's thirteen stories lead seemingly unremarkable lives until something--or someone--comes along to forever alter their perceptions, forcing them to reexamine the world as they know it. Her stories range from darkly disturbing to oddly inspirational, varying in tone, style, and subject matter. The glue that binds them is Cox's deft rendering of the human experience and compassion for characters whose lives don't go quite as planned, and who are forced to strike bargains in an unforgiving world.

In this issue of Bold Type, read an interview with Elizabeth Cox and the title story from her compelling new collection.

--Laura Buchwald

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  Photo credit: Carol Bailey

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