Dating Miss Universe

Nine Stories

Steven Polansky

“With the surgical skill of his literary forebear Raymond Carver, Polansky cuts away the skin of conventional relationships and love as it’s normally described to reveal in nine smart (and smarting) stories the cankers that infect us all. . . . Polansky’s dialogue is clipped, the stories brief. Suspenseful and riddled characters, both distressed and repressed, dwell in these neat plots pulled together with nooselike finality. Here, the last laugh belongs to Polansky and it’s a devastating, ironic twitch of a smile.” —Publishers Weekly

“Steven Polansky has written nine flawless stories whose elegance of execution belies the toughness of their subject matter. Not every writer would consider tackling such subjects as a father’s response to his son’s hatred or a teacher’s ambivalent feelings for a beautiful, yet disfigured student, but Polansky has both the courage required and the sensitivity. The title story is a gem: everyone should make a date with this Miss Universe.” —Fraser Harrison, author of High on the Hog

“Steven Polansky’s stories deserve and demand to be read word by word, moment by moment, with senses prepared for surprise and delight. This book is surefooted, quirky, disturbing and memorable, a prizewinner in every category.” —Antonya Nelson, author of The Expendables: Stories

Steven Polansky’s universe has no heroes, no villains. His people are fallen and eminently human. They try to live difficult lives with dignity and grace, to cope with what scares them. These are powerful stories of brokenness—broken families, failed loves, dangerous intimacies, unrealized dreams—that are surprisingly tender and often comic. These are stories that are at once bright and dark, written with scrupulous moral precision.

Steven Polansky’s stories have appeared in such periodicals as The New Yorker and Harper’s, and in The Best American Short Stories. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and two sons.

Mar 1999
196 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Out of print

The Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction