Home Entertainment Lynn Levin releases first short fiction collection ‘House Parties’

Lynn Levin releases first short fiction collection ‘House Parties’

The Southampton-based writer compiled 15 years of stories, which highlight her affinity for humor

Something new: Southampton’s Lynn Levin released her debut collection of short fiction, entitled ‘House Parties.’ Source: Melina Meshako

Lynn Levin, of Southampton, may have 15 years’ experience under her belt penning short fiction stories, but for the first time, these works are contained in one place. House Parties, her debut short fiction collection, was officially released on May 1, and Levin couldn’t be more thrilled.

“It feels very, very good to have them safely in a book. Almost all of them were published in magazines, and that’s wonderful that the readers of those magazines got to see them, but then it’s ephemeral. It’s floating around,” she said. “But if it’s a solid product, it gives them a good home.”

Levin, who has previously released several poetry collections, first spoke with The Times in November 2021 after earning first place in the Bucks County Short Fiction Contest, hosted by Bucks County Community College. The winning story was “Tell Us About Your Experience,” a humorous tale about how society is inundated with surveys. This is included in House Parties, along with numerous others that showcase Levin’s affinity for lightheartedness.

“I’m very attracted to humor. I think readers like humor, and when I give poetry readings, everybody tends to like the funnier poems just because you need a little levity in your life. Although there’s always seriousness behind the comedy, I do like to make people laugh or smile,” she said. “And I like seeing things in somewhat ironic or skewed manners. Life is troubling enough, and I like to add a perspective of humor and comedy to it.”

Aside from one or two that she felt weren’t up to par, House Parties is comprised of every short fiction story written by Levin over the past decade and a half. The newest story “House Parties” was chosen as inspiration for the title because, in Levin’s opinion, it perfectly exemplifies the tone of the collection.

“House Parties” takes place in an upscale community in the Poconos, where remote workers have relocated from Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York. In order to get to know their new neighbors better, they host regular house parties.

“Titling a collection that’s so eclectic like this is tricky because you want it to have an enticing title, but you also want it to convey a little bit of the liveliness of the stories, so that’s why I titled it House Parties,” said Levin. “It’s the capstone story of the book and gives the flavor.”

While each story in House Parties can stand alone, there is a common theme that ties all of the characters together.

“It’s the relentlessness and the diligence, or the foolhardy consistency with which they pursue whatever it is they’re pursuing. It’s usually how to get out of a predicament. Sometimes, it’s a predicament that they’ve created, and sometimes, it’s one that has been forced upon them that they’ve been saddled with,” said Levin. “So if there’s one thing that kind of binds the characters, it’s that spirit of constant trying to deal with whatever it is they’ve got. They’re not always successful, sometimes they are successful, and quite a number of the stories have happy endings.”

Long time coming: ‘House Parties’ is comprised of 15 years of short fiction stories. Submitted Photo

Over the coming months, Levin, an adjunct writing and literature professor at Drexel University, has a number of appearances scheduled throughout the area to promote House Parties. These include May 11 at The Doylestown Bookshop, June 3 at the Middletown Friends Meetinghouse, June 20 at the Southampton Free Library, and on Sept. 22 at Bucks County Community College’s Wordsmiths Series.

For Levin, whose poetry collection The Minor Virtues came out in March 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world, she’s excited to engage with readers in-person.

“It is a joy and a privilege to be able to read a little bit of a story to an audience and to talk about it to people,” she said. “There’s always an interesting dialogue that goes on with the audience. Sometimes they ask questions about my craft and my process of writing, and then sometimes they just offer personal considerations or ways they personally related to the story. I really think that sharing your work, it’s almost like being a performer, a little bit like doing standup, except I’m reading something. It’s that idea of being together in the community, having people share together. It’s a very important experience for me and the reader. It’s a form of entertainment.”

It’s also been an interesting experience to interact with readers who she would’ve never met just writing poetry. Many, said Levin, are intimidated by poetry, especially if they were introduced to it in school by being forced to read some difficult works.

“But many people can relate to fiction,” said Levin. “And so the reception is delightfully welcoming without the little poetry barriers that you sometimes get. More book groups have already talked to me about reading this collection. It’s a completely different ballgame with the fiction.”

Even creating short fiction is a different experience than writing poetry. While the former requires the development of various personalities and a chronological plotline, the latter is typically about one person’s deep perspective on a topic.

Looking ahead, Levin intends to keep producing short fiction and poetry, as both hold special places in her heart.

Visit lynnlevinpoet.com for more information on House Parties and details on her upcoming appearances. House Parties is available through publisher Spuyten Duyvil, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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