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Certain American States: Stories

by Catherine Lacey

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1123247,704 (3.57)12
"In the twelve stories collected in Certain American States, Catherine Lacey, the award-winning author of the acclaimed novels Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers, picks apart the minutiae of the human condition with the skill of a surgeon, giving life to a collection of ordinary people seeking -- and failing to find -- the extraordinary in their lives. The characters in Certain American States are continually coming to terms with their place in the world before change inevitably returns. A woman leaves her dead husband's clothing on the street, only for it to reappear on the body of a stranger; a man reads his ex-wife's short story and neurotically contemplates whether it is about him; a young woman's attempt to deal with family tragedy is interrupted daily by a mute stranger showing her incoherent messages on his phone. These are stories of breakups, abandonment, and strained family ties; loneliness, happenstance, starting over, and the constant destruction of the self. Catherine Lacey's elegiac and inspired prose is at its full power in Certain American States, her first collection of short fiction, further establishing her as one of the singular literary voices of her generation." --… (more)
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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
A really stellar collection of stories about modern love - or, perhaps more accurately, modern relationships. Should be thrust into the hands of anyone who read Cat Person and decided they liked literature again. ( )
  alexrichman | Mar 24, 2019 |
A nice group of stories but nothing super memorable. Would definitely be interested in reading her novel, though. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
Almost every story is this collection is preoccupied with loss, in one of its various forms – death, divorce, break-ups, family estrangement. Almost every story is also flat-out hilarious, despite these serious and often sombre concerns. Lacey excels in writing stories told from intense and hyperbolic first-person perspectives, and while I can't say I enjoyed every piece in this collection, the ones I loved I loved. Personal faves were "Violations", "Small Differences", and "Family Physics". ( )
  williecostello | Jan 17, 2019 |
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"In the twelve stories collected in Certain American States, Catherine Lacey, the award-winning author of the acclaimed novels Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers, picks apart the minutiae of the human condition with the skill of a surgeon, giving life to a collection of ordinary people seeking -- and failing to find -- the extraordinary in their lives. The characters in Certain American States are continually coming to terms with their place in the world before change inevitably returns. A woman leaves her dead husband's clothing on the street, only for it to reappear on the body of a stranger; a man reads his ex-wife's short story and neurotically contemplates whether it is about him; a young woman's attempt to deal with family tragedy is interrupted daily by a mute stranger showing her incoherent messages on his phone. These are stories of breakups, abandonment, and strained family ties; loneliness, happenstance, starting over, and the constant destruction of the self. Catherine Lacey's elegiac and inspired prose is at its full power in Certain American States, her first collection of short fiction, further establishing her as one of the singular literary voices of her generation." --

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