The Baby Can Sing and Other Stories

The Baby Can Sing and Other Stories

Document Type




udith Slater's debut collection, The Baby Can Sing and Other Stories, was selected by Stuart Dybek as the 1998 Winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction.

The Baby Can Sing and Other Stories introduces a writer who approaches the world at a surprisingly oblique angle. Judith Slater writes in a prose dance, dramatizing the lives of ordinary people who wonder what they can do to bring more passion into their lives, or at least less loneliness.

The characters in these stories are a diverse bunch-a floral clerk with aspirations of being a ballet dancer, a photographer volunteering to take the pictures at his ex-girlfriendÕs wedding, a father playing the role of reluctant chaperon at his daughter's school dance-but all of them are alert to the moments of possibility, transcendence, and sometimes even magic that exist just under the surface of ordinary life.

Slater is unafraid to employ the surreal or absurd twist: in the title story, a woman creates a perfect baby in her mind; in "Phil's Third Eye," a chance encounter at a Laundromat ends in a bizarre battle of wills; in "Our New Life," a woman finds that her former therapist has decided to make the same drastic change in her own life as she had encouraged in her patient's, and a strange challenge is issued to decide who has taken the greater risk; the narrator of "Soft Money," worried about job security in the large corporation she works for, hits upon a unique solution to the problem of downsizing.

In vivid, witty prose, Judith Slater presents a world where people come together and make do, as they learn to live with the odd possibilities in life.



Publication Date



Sarabande Books




Creative Writing

Citation for published book

Slater, J., & Dybek, S. (1999). The baby can sing and other stories / Judith Slater. (1st ed.).

The Baby Can Sing and Other Stories