Thank You for Being Concerned and Sensitive
Winner of the 1997 Iowa Short Fiction Award
“…on enough occasions to make Jim Henry's stories worth reading, the close focus he brings to bear on his characters reveals surprising truths about people despairingly clinging to one another and their illusions.”—New York Times Book Review
“There is present a small speck of Donald Barthelme's alacrity, so that we often see throughout the narrator's eye during a moment of amused irritation. [Henry's] characters struggle with private dreams and demons and with public versus private realities. I think 'Congressman Spoonbender' is a wonderful story, and—as with so many of the stories—it's difficult not to feel uneasily, and perhaps a bit exhilaratingly, implicated.”—Ann Beattie
Jim Henry's stories defy convention. There are no easy answers, no quick fixes. Although the plots vary—from a corpse returning to visit his family weeks after his burial, to the musings of a congressman grappling with the weight of history, to a wealthy family's elaborate plot to cheer their mysteriously wounded mother—all express a sense of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the absurd in the everyday.
Henry's characters are for the most part misfits, outsiders looking in on a world whose seemingly natural order is turned upside down. In a throw-away culture obsessed with sex and drugs, money and God, they struggle to connect with what is real while trying to convince themselves that anything is. And yet in the midst of their existential searching there remains always Henry's quirky sense of humor. As one character says, “Anything is possible,” and in this collection anything and everything happens.