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Bliss Broyard:
My Father, Dancing

Bliss Broyard
  My Father Dancing  
Bliss Broyard    
reading

essay

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  Bliss Broyard's impressive debut collection of short stories addresses the multitude of relationships that can and do shape a woman's life, the most prevalent of which, in My Father, Dancing, is that between a father and daughter. Her stories run the gamut from lighthearted to heart-breaking, all the while staying true to the vast scope of human emotion. Broyard's heroines range from wide-eyed adolescents to road-weary women, all attempting to find their ways through the maze of the human heart and the bittersweet milestones of life.

The title story sees a young, independent woman keeping vigil by her dying father's bedside. Through flashbacks that touch the heart without being overly-sentimental, Kate quietly reminisces about better times, when she and her father were one another's favorite dance partners, and he appeared invincible to her. A reader with knowledge of Broyard's life will recognize truth in this beautiful work of fiction. Bliss is the daughter of the late, great Anatole Broyard (longtime book reviewer for The New York Times) and it was while grappling with the emotions surrounding the impending loss of her father that she wrote the moving first story in her collection.

Bliss visited Bold Type's offices recently and read passages from two of her short stories, "Mr. Sweetly Indecent," which is also reprinted here in its entirety, and "The Trouble With Mr. Leopold." "Mr. Sweetly Indecent" follows the emotional arc of a young woman who accidentally catches sight of her father's infidelity to her mother, and struggles to understand this in the midst of redefining her own sexuality. The young heroine in "The Trouble With Mr. Leopold" attends a prestigious prep school; when she faces writer's block on an assignment for an English class, her journalist-father decides to ghost-write the paper for her. The ensuing C+ comically and honestly rattles both father and daughter.

Listen to Bliss Broyard read from these two stories, and read her personal essay. This is clearly an author from whom we'll see more great work in the future.

 
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  Photo of Bliss Broyard copyright © Marion Ettlinger

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