The Lifeguard Stories

Mary Morris




Trade Paperback

192 Pages



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This collection of ten short stories combines Mary Morris's consummate craft as a storyteller with her gift for dramatic travel writing. In the title story, a teenage lifeguard sees his mystique among the girls on the beach dissolve in a panicked moment when he cannot save a child. In "The Glass-Bottom Boat," a mother on her first trip abroad learns about trust from a solicitous stranger. The Lifeguard is a powerful collection that shows Morris's great sensitivity to men and women at moments of turbulence, uncertainty, and crisis.


Praise for The Lifeguard

"Mary Morris seems to have a microscope trained on the souls and hearts of mankind . . . A superb collection . . . A magnificent writer."—The Washington Post Book World

"Dizzy with self-realization, Morris's characters venture out beyond the beach resorts to more compelling but often perilous territories."—The Chicago Tribune

"These knowing, sometimes dark tales are about people struggling to connect with each other in spite of their own ambivalence."—Glamour

"Mary Morris's compassion is on par with her sense of humor, a rare combination."—Betsy Willeford, The Newark Star-Ledger

"The stories are quite disarmingly complex, while keeping up a surface appearance of clarity and straightforwardness . . . It's a fine book."—Charles Baxter

"Ten subtle, impressionistic stories that linger and expand in the memory."—Mademoiselle

"As a storyteller, Morris shines. Reading her best stories is like sinking into a good photograph. She packs them with tiny details, but never allows the particulars to interfere with the vision and balance of the whole."—Julia Corbin, St. Petersburg Times

"A poised and articulate collection."—Publishers Weekly

"Exquisitely revealing moments . . . Clearly Morris hasn't lost her touch as a story writer."—Kirkus Reviews

"Morris's ability to reincarnate her travel stories into fiction make for a well-rounded, fully formed body of work. It is also a pleasure to come upon a contemporary author who writes fiction and nonfiction equally well."—Kristin Rose, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

"What really unifies these stories is Morris's spartan approach to descriptive detail and her spare language. Instead of spoon-feeding her readers, Morris leaves much for them to infer."—Marie Elsie St. Leger, Time Out New York

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Mary Morris

  • Mary Morris's books include the novels House Arrest, The Night Sky, Crossroads, and The Waiting Room; the travel memoirs Nothing to Declare and Wall to Wall; and the highly acclaimed story collections Vanishing Animals and Other Stories and The Bus of Dreams. A recipient of the Rome Prize for Literature, she teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

  • Mary Morris ©Jill Krementz
    Mary Morris