I particularly like the coexistence of the personal and political in Brenner's stories. My favorite is A Love Story. I love the back and forth in time, between characters, and the surprise of what is happening, who is speaking. I felt off balance but not in a bad way. It was more a process of discovery. I was surprised by the ending but also a perfectly natural question. It also feels like a question throughout that piece, Who is responsible? What is personal/political/collective? I think that separation (imagined) is finally breaking down. There is less and less either or, more both and.
Shelley Hoyt, artist, shelleyhoyt.com
Summer Brenner is a gracious writer. She makes me perfectly comfortable and glad to be travelling beside her in tales that explore love’s festival of meaning. Then she startles me with the surprise of intimacy, the sudden access to depths I couldn’t foresee. I didn’t know I could know her women in love this way or this well—the questing of physical life, the candor of spirit. And sometimes her prose flies up in a rush of poetry.
Robert Glück, author of Margery Kempe
The women and their longings and passion and humor and insight and self-trust and self-doubt! Each story had such a rich backdrop. So appreciate how the Iraq War entered the narrative through Frank. Tender piece. Horrifying. Love the Laurie character, her thoughts as the narration. Fresh ways of seeing a couple. Honest. The French revolutionary or the perfect boyfriend? Yes, put your stuff in a paper bag and go! And The Soft Room, such a time and spirit in that piece, the flavor of this satin nightgown and the ways light dances around in a room or a zocalo.
Susan Banyas, author of The Hillsboro Story: A Kaleidoscope History of an Integration Battle in My Hometown
Reading Summer Brenner’s novellas is a seductive and disturbing experience, one not to be missed. Her explorations of the vagaries of love are illuminated by a powerfully vivid generosity—generosity meaning not only sympathy and understanding but a willingness to recognize passion as a source of both folly and inspiration, cruel stupidity and ecstatic enlightenment, frustration, disappointment, and anger as well as irresistible sexual joy. There’s absolutely no doubt that she knows what she’s talking about.
Harry Mathews, member of Oulipo, author of Cigarettes
The women in Summer Brenner’s world grow wiser by defying expectations, both the world’s and their own. Her characters are tonic and poetic, weaving melancholy with healing. We are in the hands of a first-rate storyteller.
Andrei Codrescu, author of New Orleans Mon Amour and
No Time Like Now: New Poems
A brave and confronting book. I was particularly intrigued by "The Soft Room". It seems we travelled the same Route. Oaxaca, Monte Albin, San Blas, San Cristobal, Manzinillo. My trip in 1965 before I went to San Francisco and later Placitas. The troubled, sometimes painful relationships brought back the involvements of the 60' and 70's.
Summer Brenner was raised in Georgia and migrated east first to New England and Europe, and then west to New Mexico and eventually Berkeley where she has been a long-time resident. She has published a dozen works of fiction, poetry, and novels for youth. Her papers are available in Special Collections at the University of Delaware.