Some Possible Solutions
Henry Holt & Company
Helen Phillips
“The Wedding Dress”
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“The Wedding Stairs” is from Helen Phillips’s new collection, SOME POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS (Henry Holt & Company, 2016).   Phillips is the author of an earlier story collection, AND YET THEY WERE HAPPY, and the novel, THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT, a finalist for the NYPL Young Lions Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and a New York Times Notable Book of 2015.  Phillips has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and the Italo Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction.

 

Kirkus Review said of the book: “The short stories in this darkly absorbing collection remind us of the hope and humanity, the warmth, joy, and love that can be found in even the bleakest circumstances.”

 

Phillips said this about the origin of her story.  “This story came from:

 

(1) A wedding (a menu printed in a wispy font on ecru paper, beef Wellington et al. I don’t know if there were white poppies at this wedding. I do know that one of the wedding guests had cancer. I don’t know if there were rosemary-cucumber martinis. I do know that we drank too many martinis).

 

(2) A dream (two nights after the aforementioned wedding, a sorcerer in the form of a maître d’, a valuable painting destroyed in a drunken romp, an infinite staircase littered with the remains of a feast).

 

(3) A fairytale (Bluebeard, the forbidden door, the missing wives, the question mark of the keyhole).

 

(4) A miscarriage (the stain on the dress).

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