Gorgeous, melancholic stories of family relationships--and of trying to survive the modern world. "In her life, she'd rarely felt taller than the trees." So observes a character in Jessica Francis Kane's beautiful and insightful debut stories.Set in the United States and London, this striking collection introduces us to a range of complex characters: some anguished in their pursuit of impractical dreams, others struggling with the painful intimacy of families. We meet a mathematician who has forsaken everything in order to prove a theory, a young New York publicist trying to make ends meet, an older woman author achieving fame late in life. In each story, Kane combines elegant prose with wit, generosity, and emotional power to portray characters at odds with the pattern of their lives, often awkward or embarrassed or desperately impulsive. Much of what they understand about the people who would love them remains private, internal. In time, intimacy begins to look a lot like mere politeness among strangers. The problem, these stories suggest, is not misunderstanding but understanding too well.Bending Heaven marks the debut of a stunning new talent.