Friday, September 23, 2011

What is Caitlin Horrocks reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Caitlin Horrocks, author of the story collection, This Is Not Your City.

Her entry begins:
I just finished the short story collection For Sale By Owner by Kelcey Parker. The jacket copy describes these as “tales of twisted domesticity,” and I’d heard Kelcey read one of her stories out loud before I started her book, about a woman who gives up her family for Lent, sleeping at a local motel and eating fish sandwiches at the Hooters down the street. But somehow I still wasn’t fully prepared for how delightfully “twisted” these stories are: the characters have largely achieved the things they thought they wanted, the things they were supposed to want—husband, children, suburban McMansions. But they find themselves dissatisfied: “How had she ended up in this unfamiliar, even unreal, life? She hadn’t, like her daughter, wished to be a mermaid. She had not wished for the impossible.” This is a familiar refrain, in both life and fiction, but Parker strives mightily, and successfully, to make...[read on]
Among the praise for This Is Not Your City:
"Plimpton Prize–winner Horrocks effortlessly navigates the comedy and bewilderment of being middle class without an ounce of condescension, martyrdom, or sensationalism.... [A] stellar collection...."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Horrocks’s stories share one consuming fixation. We live in a world studded with cruelty. Humans inflict it; the world inflicts it. How do we live with this bewildering truth?... [An] appealingly rugged-hearted collection...
--Robin Romm, New York Times Book Review

"Horrocks expertly grounds dramatic, potentially outlandish plots with precise, recognizable emotions. Like Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri, she has a talent for finding the heartbreaking quotidian detail."
--J.T. Hill, Book Slut

"'This Is Not Your City' offers much more than bold plotlines. These are delicate, character-driven stories whose distinct narrators demonstrate the hand of a remarkably versatile writer.... 'This Is Not Your City' abounds with echoing passages like these, observed in honest, everyday language. Caitlin Horrocks is writing well beyond her years, not only raising our expectations of what a story can do but also setting a high standard for any debut fiction author.
--Wayne Harrison, San Francisco Chronicle
Learn more about the book and author at Caitlin Horrocks's website.

Writers Read: Caitlin Horrocks.

--Marshal Zeringue