All posts tagged: story collection

Leah Hampton talks about her debut story collection, F*CKFACE, set in rural Appalachia, plus her writing tips & routines, climate change, geography, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  A bold, brassy debut collection of short stories set in modern-day Appalachia explore the environmental and geographical elements of these resilient, durable–and often stubborn–folks. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Recently, my family and I visited rural Appalachia for the first time; I was swept away. The geography, the landscape was at once familiar, and yet foreign. It stirred me; cast a spell. Something about the purple haze unfurling from the mountains, the way they were formed when the African continent collided with the North American one, creating a buckle, then drifting away, seems somehow poetic and disturbing. And so when Leah Hampton’s F*CKFACE: And Other Stories (Henry Holt, July 2020) came to my attention, I knew I had to read it. F*CKFACE is comprised of twelve short stories, all set in Appalachia, and are at once funny, tragic, and disturbing. There are park rangers and corpses, illicit sex, dead bears and grocery stores, infertility, there’s a young man estranged from his parents and more distanced when he leaves for Afghanistan; there are frogs and locals and …

Colette Sartor talks about her sublime collection of linked stories in ONCE REMOVED, but also how she never intended to write a collection; the grittier side to L.A., a study in storymapping and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Stunning collection of interlinked stories featuring strong, yet vulnerable women, exploring fears, desires, earned raw emotion, and so much more. ~FICTION FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ FLANNERY O’CONNOR AWARD FOR SHORT FICTION I am literally swooning over this collection of interlinked stories by Colette Sartor. ONCE REMOVED: Stories (University of Georgia Press, September 2019) and winner of the Flannery O’Conner Award for Short Fiction, shimmers with radiant, but unsettling characters in authentic situations. It’s mostly about intimacy–and I’m not talking about sex here–it’s the voids and turns of life brimming with emotional complexity. It’s about babies and meals, traditions, and customs. It’s about houses and homes; leaving and going; about love and grief, fierce natures and grudge-holders. It’s about disillusionment and estrangement. The prose is pounding with pulse, and yet, there’s a lyrical restraint here, too. Sartor strips away the facade we fallible humans hide behind, revealing the (sometimes) crumbling foundation. She excavates the fears, desires, secrets in ways that are surprising and while troublesome, are also delightful. The emotion here is raw, but it’s …

Polly Samson talks about her enchanting collection of stories, PERFECT LIVES, how it was influenced, in part, by being a new mother living near the sea

By Leslie Lindsay  Eleven interconnected stories set in the bucolic English seaside town in which everyone is a little skewed and searching …for love, belonging, pleasures, and more. ~DECEMBER SHORT STORIES SERIES~ Lately I’ve had a love affair with wry, enchanting short stories that bring to mind nature and our connection to it–and also the inner lives of deliciously flawed characters. PERFECT LIVES (Bloomsbury, 2010) by Polly Samson absolutely fits the bill. Her writing is keenly observed in the nuances of family life and also the small town feel of this enmeshed seaside community. There’s a broken egg dropped through a mail slot, a boy who glances his babysitter at a circus on a trapeze, a struggling postpartum mother, a piano tuner, some gorgeous architecture, and more. The stories meander and trail along in a fashion that is both exquisite and nuanced, and at times, I struggled to find the connections between them, but characters do resurface, and like a true-life village, ‘bump’ into one another time and time again. Samson’s strength lies in details and observations. …