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My body to you -- News -- Round objects -- Alice Egner -- Virgins -- What to do in an emergency -- Gone -- Losing weight -- Tell me about it -- The first most beautiful woman in the world -- Not herself -- White eggplant -- Number 8


In the thirteen stories of My Body to You, thirteen women or girls pilot their own bodies through a shifting universe of lovers old and young, parents devoted and destructive, sisters of different sexes, children and adults living in the mysterious world of autism. All these characters share keen powers of observations and a heightened sensuality. In a wild variety of settings, they struggle to control—or dare to abandon themselves to—their intensely private passions.

A woman in love with a gay man she calls Sister Kin attempts to escape the bonds of her own body. An eighteen-year-old virgin enters into a passionate affair with an older man who turns out to be a virgin of a different sort. A special education teacher in a school for aggressive teenagers finds herself attracted to another teacher, also female. An intelligent outcast girl bonds with her mindlessly seductive mother to form “one person.”

Searle reveals other characters through inventive and often comic feats of narrative daring. A girl grows into womanhood during a single family dinner that spans twenty years. A middle-aged wife, once dubbed “The First Most Beautiful Woman in the World,” watches her former selves parade before her family in a lively evening of home movies. Two women—one recently divorced, the other a group home resident in love with The Who—join forces as they figure out “What to Do in an Emergency.” An old woman experiences both physical breakdown and spiritual breakdown in a supermarket's vegetable department. A young woman is drawn into the emotional and sexual life of an autistic boy obsessed with the number 8.

Each of these stories is written in a language that strives to match the intensity of Searle's characters; each gives the reader an exceptionally intimate portrait of a unique female and the central, sensual mystery of her body.

Series Title

Iowa Short Fiction Award

Award Date



Salter, James

Publication Date



University of Iowa Press


Iowa City

Total Pages


ISBN of Print Version



Women, Girls


Copyright © 1993 by Elizabeth Searle. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, without permission in writing from the publisher.

My Body to You