Common Body, Royal Bones

Stories by Evelyn Shefner

December 1, 1987 • 5.5 x 8.5 • 144 pages • 978-0-918273-33-8

A seven-foot-tall princess, a woman with “reverse ESP,” and a tattooed king are the outlandish main characters of these three stories.

This remarkable first book explores the meaning of the nature of the ordinary and the extraordinary. Evelyn Shefner’s three outlandish main characters—a woman with “reverse ESP” who unwittingly transmits rather than receives thoughts, a seven-foot-tall princess of a mythical Eastern European country who becomes an anthropologist, and the tattooed king of a remote northern land—each try to find a way to deal with the day-to-day, and establish a “normal” identity. Utilizing a lyrical style with rolling “piled on” sentence rhythms and marvelous wordplay, these three long stories give the reader an opportunity to get to know these “freaks.” Eventually they become more than acquaintances, they become companions, friends, they become people we care about. Coffee House Press is delighted to introduce this stunning prose stylist to a national audience.


Common Body, Royal Bones is such a wonderful title! ‘The Tattooed King’ is not only a suspense story but an adroit parable—astonishingly good . . . it’s fascinating in an almost Borges kind of way.” —May Swenson

“I admire Evelyn Shefner’s work for its elegant and supple prose, its irony and verbal playfulness, above all, its insights. It packs hidden jolts and stings in its depths, and is fun to read.” —Edward Field