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A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends
A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends

A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends


190 Pages, 5.5 x 8

Formats: Trade Paper, PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB

Trade Paper, $16.00 (US $16.00) (CA $18.00)

Publication Date: March 2012

ISBN 9780615529776

Rights: US & CA

Elephant Rock Productions, Inc. (Mar 2012)
Elephant Rock Books


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Quirks of fate highlight this debut short story collection whose characters are women of dazzling ironies and introspections, always in motion and trusting in love—even when it remains out of reach. Two friends plan a visit to Nantucket, but find themselves on a different island completely, where the men they have loved are lined up on the beach in chronological order; a grieving mother and daughter encounter naked strangers in unexpected places en route to the Dordogne River; a restless New York artist travels to Madrid to find a European lover, only to fall for another persnickety New Yorker. From the mysterious island in the Atlantic to the crowded highways of Los Angeles and  from the Charles Bridge in Prague to the temples of Luxor and the most remote regions of the Myanmar peninsula, the worlds invented here are inspiring and unique, original in the manner through which the physical landscape never fails to inform the emotional one.


"Beirlein's deft character development, nuanced prose, and honest treatment of the ups and downs of love make this a memorable and engaging collection–a trip readers will want to take again and again."  —Publishers Weekly

“Bierlein’s stories are beautifully made, constantly surprising, and utterly believable. She tightropes an enviable line between making unknown worlds utterly familar, and turning the known world into something tantilizingly exotic, undeniably fresh. If you are lucky, her narrators will remind you of the best friends you've ever had, sharp-edged steely-eyed women with weaknesses for all of the best things in life. These are stories that will make you laugh, and long for, and challenge, and think.”  —Pam Houston, author, Contents May Have Shifted, Cowboys Are My Weakness, and Sight Hound

“Bierlein’s work is like a glass of water with cucumber slices in it. What I mean is that the vitality in her prose is absolutely refreshing. Things you don’t expect suddenly make complete sense.” —Aimee Bender, author, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and Willful Creatures

“Intoxicates like the best doomed love affairs. Bierlein possesses the sober precision of a clairvoyant who knows better, but who can’t resist the ride.”  —Gina Frangello, author, My Sister’s Continent and Slut Lullabies

“Bierlein’s short fiction is elegant, sensuous, and tough too. In addition to story, there’s rhythm here—heart and depth and precision. Page after page I am struck by their lyricism and urgency.” —Lisa Glatt, author, A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That and The Apple’s Bruise

"Bierlein's stories are overtly sexual, but she strikes a balance by baring her characters' inner turmoil with grace and understanding. By the end of A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends, we are indeed left exhausted, swept along satisfyingly by the exotic locations and emotional highs and lows of the characters, recognizing a few of the women in our lives in them along the way."  —

"Do not be misled by the book's fun and feminine cover, which may cause some to assume that A Vacation to the Island of Ex-boyfriends is a chick-lit, beachy, in-and-out sort of read. It is most definitely anything but. Bierlein has written an unflinching account of what it means to find, lose, and regain oneself within the melee of meaningful relationships, imparting her truth with intelligent wit, stunning clarity, raw emotion, and finely honed humor."  —Lauryn Allison Lewis,

"Stellar collection of heady and affecting stories. Bierlein's characters test the parameters of love and trust in lust while cherishing friendship above all. With their sudden slicing dives through bright, scintillating surfaces into the cold darkness of pain and fear, Bierlein's dagger-sharp, witty, authentic stories reveal what life is like now for women torn between anything goes and choices of a lifetime."  —Donna Seaman, Booklist

Author Biography

Stacy Bierlein is a founding editor of Other Voices Books and cocreator of the Morgan Street International Novel Series. She is the editor of the award-winning anthology A Stranger Among Us: Stories of Cross Cultural Collision and Connection and coeditor of Men Undressed: Female Writers and the Male Sexual Experience. She lives in Los Angeles.