The stories in A Common Person and Other Stories, R. M. Kinder’s third short-story collection and the winner of the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction, expose the disruption in our modern life and the everpresent threat of violence, and, most importantly, they capture the real heroism of everyday people. The characters in these stories, most set deep in the middle of America, seem to invite trouble through their concern for others: a neighbor’s mistreated dog, a boy standing up to a bully, a woman who faces cancer and the loss of love. Kinder’s characters struggle with conflicts common to us all—to treat humans and animals with compassion, to open minds and hearts to diversity, all while balancing the welfare of the individual and the larger community. The characters aren’t always loveable, but they have their moments of grace—they accept responsibility and take stands. These stories, by turns humorous, unsettling, and utterly believable, expose the dangers of ordinary life as their characters perform acts of defiance, determination, and connection. The memorable characters in A Common Person and Other Stories are, like us, doing the best they can, and that is often remarkable and admirable. Considered closely, Kinder shows us, no person is common.
R. M. Kinder is the author of three prizewinning collections of short fiction, including A Near-Perfect Gift, winner of the University of Michigan Press Literary Fiction Award, and Sweet Angel Band, winner of Helicon Nine
Editions’s Willa Cather Fiction Prize. She has also published two novels, An Absolute Gentleman and The Universe Playing Strings. Her prose has appeared in Passages North, Other Voices, North American Review, the New York Times, and elsewhere.