Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2008

The thirteen interrelated stories collected here concern the universal longing for friendship, how we achieve new intimacies for ourselves, and how slowly, inexplicably, we lose them. Featuring six never-before-published pieces, SHAKESPEARE’S KITCHEN evolved from seven short stories that originally appeared in The New Yorker (including the O. Henry Prize–winning “The Reverse Bug”).

Ilka Weisz has accepted a teaching position at the Concordance Institute, a think tank in Connecticut, reluctantly leaving her New York circle of friends. After the comedy of her struggle to meet new people, Ilka comes to embrace, and be embraced by, a new set of acquaintances, including the institute’s director, Leslie Shakespeare, and his wife, Eliza. Through a series of memorable dinner parties, picnics, and Sunday brunches, Segal evokes the subtle drama and humor of the outsider’s loneliness, the comfort and charm of familiar companionship, the bliss of being in love, and the strangeness of our behavior in the face of other people’s deaths.


Lore Segal is the author of the novels LUCINELLA, OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES, and HER FIRST AMERICAN. Segal has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, two PEN/O. Henry Awards, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award, a fellowship at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  A recognized author of children’s books, Segal has also written for The New YorkerThe New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, and Harper’s, among others.