Author Page: Annam Manthiram

Dysfunction by Annam Manthiram

Released December 30, 2012.

Press kit here. Orders are available on the Publications & Store page.

Annam Manthiram is the author of the novel, After the Tsunami (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2011), and Dysfunction: Stories, which was a finalist in the 2010 Elixir Press Fiction Contest and in Leapfrog Press’ 2010 Fiction Contest. Her prize-winning short work has been published in Poets & Writers Magazine, Cream City Review, Gargoyle, New Plains Review, Puerto del Sol, Monkeybicycle, and many others. A graduate of the MA Writing program at the University of Southern California and a recent Finalist in the 2012 Pen Parentis Fellowship Awards, Ms. Manthiram resides in New Mexico with her husband, Alex, and sons, Sathya and Anand.

About the Collection:
Dramatically different in style and form, these tales range from the wicked (a divorcée recounts her failed marriages sardonically from A to Z), to heart-wrenchingly commonplace (an older Indian woman struggles to find a husband during humiliating bride-viewings), and emotionally barren (a mother cannot understand why her family doesn’t love her enough to remember her son’s first birthday). At times funny, but always incisive, this collection of stories examines the survival of those whose only certainty is dysfunction.

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Title Availability

Press kit here.
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In ForeWord Review, Winter 2013
In Publishers Weekly, Jan. 21, 2013
In Fiction Writers Review
The Rio Rancho Observer covers Dysfunction

Advance Praise for Dysfunction:

This book is not for readers who like their short fiction uplifting, but rather for pragmatists interested in the intricacies of human frailty, the art of an unblinkingly unhappy plot, and the depth of dysfunction across families, friends, and foes.
ForeWord Reviews

Beginning with "The Cottonwood Borer", a compact and powerful story told by a young girl about her mother's desire to be reincarnated as a as the titular figure, each story examines wildly different characters, from a young Indian girl who can't live up to her parents standards in "Asha Ma", to a lonely woman who buys storage units hoping to find emotional satisfaction in their unknown contents in "Whatcha Bid". The stories are most successful when they are at their darkest, displaying allegorical brilliance on the scale of a Sanskrit epic.
Publishers Weekly

Profoundly moving and intimately-told, these stories will stir a reader to tears, or bring out an unexpected smile. The woman still searching for love, even after everyone around her has given up, a baby boy dismissed by his grandparents, the obsession over a pancake race in a small Kansas town… Manthiram pulls you into these disparate worlds and proves that family dysfunction—at its most heart wrenching, its most comical—transcends all races.
—Kavita Daswani, author of Bombay Girl, Lovetorn, and others

The stories of Annam Manthiram’s Dysfunction drift and return, like the mother’s strange and tender promise to come back to her child as a Cottonwood Borer in the first story. There is a pain here, a gruesomeness felt in the hearts of Manthiram’s characters—and, we see, in our world—that we try to turn away from. We wish we could. But with stories as brutally beautiful as these, we never will.
–Nicole Louise Reid, author of So There!

Dysfunction is a most arresting and compelling collection of stories, and because of their unexpected moments of comic bruise and lyrical intensity, I found myself thinking for a long time about these people and the trees and leaves and flowers, and other humans, they loved. That is testament to Annam Manthiram's grace with language and her way of looking at the world.
—Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here and A Million Nightingales

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