In Refund, Bender creates an award-winning collection of stories that deeply explore the ways in which money and the estimation of value affect the lives of her characters. The stories are filled with swindlers, reality show creators, desperate artists, siblings, parents, all trying to answer the question: What is the real definition of worth? In "Theft," an eighty-year-old swindler boards a cruise ship to see if she can find something of true value: a human connection. In "Anything for Money," the creator of a reality show is thrown into the real world when his estranged granddaughter reenters his life in need of a new heart; and in the title story, young artist parents in downtown Manhattan escape the attack on 9/11 only to face a battle over their subletted apartment with a stranger who might have lost more than only her deposit.
Karen E. Bender is the author of the novels Like Normal People and A Town of Empty Rooms. Her fiction has appeared in numerous literary publications including, The New Yorker, and Granta. Her stories have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, and have won two Pushcart prizes. She has taught creative writing at Antioch University Los Angeles, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Tunghai University in Taiwan. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, novelist Robert Anthony Siegel, and their two children.
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