Festival Days

Festival Days

A searing and exhilarating new collection from the award-winning author of The Boys of My Youth and In Zanesville , who “honors the beautiful, the sacred, and the comic in life” (Sigrid Nunez, National Book Awardwinner for The Friend )

When “The Fourth State of Matter,” her now famous piece about a workplace massacre at the University of Iowa was published in The New Yorker, Jo Ann Beard immediately became one of the most influential writers in America, forging a path for a new generation of young authors willing to combine the dexterity of fiction with the rigors of memory and reportage, and in the process extending the range of possibility for the essay form.
 
Now, with Festival Days, Beard brings us the culmination of her groundbreaking work. In these nine pieces, she captures both the small, luminous moments of daily existence and those instants when life and death hang in the balance, ranging from the death of a beloved dog to a relentlessly readable account of a New York artist trapped inside a burning building, as well as two triumphant, celebrated pieces of short fiction.
 
Here is an unforgettable collection destined to be embraced and debated by readers and writers, teachers and students. Anchored by the title piece––a searing journey through India that brings into focus questions of mortality and love—Festival Days presents Beard at the height of her powers, using her flawless prose to reveal all that is tender and timeless beneath the way we live now.

Title:Festival Days
ISBN:9780316497237
Format Type:

    Festival Days Reviews

  • Kristina

    Festival Days, the latest book of essays and stories by Jo Ann Beard, is a difficult, emotional, harrowing read. Do not step into its pages lightly. It is a book primarily of loss—loss of life, loss...

  • AED

    Wow, if this woman isn't a genius of writing no one is. Jo Ann Beard's people come to life in both fiction and non-fiction, and the book makes a good case for letting go of hard lines between the genr...

  • Vincent Scarpa

    "I'm wherever here is." ("Festival Days")A perfect collection. Fans of JAB's who have been diligent about always picking up a magazine featuring new work from her will find that nothing has gone uncol...

  • Rennie

    I love her, but these are uneven, as opposed to The Boys of My Youth where each piece is consistently outstanding. And it’s unfair to constantly compare an author’s work to one work that was so in...

  • Ciara

    I call this collection, "Jo Ann Beard doing whatever the hell she wants." As she should.✨...

  • Chris

    Well, this was lovely. I am a Jo Ann Beard superfan since Boys of My Youth, and this collection of (mostly) essays hit me exactly right. “Werner” and “Cheri” will stay with me for a while, but...

  • Jim

    I guess it was Toni Morrison who said "write the book you want to read," if that book doesn't seem to exist yet. "Festival Days" is the book I wanted to read (though didn't know it) as well as write, ...

  • Julie

    Breathtakingly wonderful essays and stories. Beautiful writing without that self-conscious, trying too hard, MFA feel to it. I want to read it straight through again. I borrowed this from the library ...

  • Tara Sullivan

    The stories in this book will stay with me for a long time. Gorgeous, heartbreaking prose. ...

  • Billie Hinton

    I discovered Jo Ann Beard’s rich, riveting work when a writing teacher assigned her essay The Fourth State Of Matter, which appeared in the New Yorker in 1996. That essay so wowed me, I couldn’t w...