“You know what the lit community needs more of? HYPE. I know, I know–but seriously, instead of another anticipated list, I figured it would be more befitting to share cover art, quotes, an assortment of content from eagerly anticipated titles forthcoming in 2015. These are the sorts of books the CCM/Entropy community swoons over and here’s the first in what I hope will be a recurring series.” –Michael J Seidlinger
FSG Originals | Available 4/14/2015
FSG | Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
A searing new collection from the inimitable Amelia Gray.
A woman creeps through the ductwork of a quiet home. A medical procedure reveals an object of worship. A carnivorous reptile divides and cauterizes a town. Amelia Gray’s curio cabinet expands in Gutshot, where isolation and coupling are pushed to their dark and outrageous edges. These singular stories live and breathe on their own, pulsating with energy and humanness and a glorious sense of humor. Hers are stories that you will read and reread—raw gems that burrow into your brain, reminders of just how strange and beautiful our world is. These collected stories come to us like a vivisected body, the whole that is all the more elegant and breathtaking for exploring its most grotesque and intimate lightless viscera.
Widen those eyes and have a look at some of my favorite lines from the book, some videos, and excerpts from interviews:
“In the back of the cabinet, over the plates, there was a portal through which I viewed a windowless void of a continuous ecosystem. I could almost hear it breathing.” — from “House Heart”
“It had been a memorable date after such a long line of failures. Turns out they had hidden the same punk tapes in the back of their closets as teenagers and had always secretly wanted to work as photographers for nature magazines.” — from “In the Moment”
“When he buys you a drink, plunge a penknife into his nose and carve out a piece.
“When he asks you to take it down a notch at the Christmas party, pour wine into his ear and drink what drains out.” — from “Fifty Ways to Eat Your Lover”
“We ended up in the Days Inn in Corpus. Kyle examined a road map in his underpants while I took the bucket to the ice machine. A crowd of tourists were standing in the laundry room. They were speaking languages.” — from “These Are the Fables”
“He rested his head against the billboard. He heard in the protests of the steel a message from the mechanized world. He thought it was a love song, but he was mistaken.” — from “How He Felt”
“The gods decided that, once a year, they would have a weeklong contest and allow the one person who felt the most grief over the loss of a loved one to have that loved one return.” — from “A Contest”
The worldview that you express in your work is phenomenal and incredibly strange — how does the world you experience in life become the world in your fiction? That is, is it hard work to create your surreal confections, or are they always lingering in your peripheral vision?
I have a pretty good peripheral vision. Right now, I see a dog there. For me, writing the way I do is a matter of staying in the room long enough. I’m writing a perfectly good story about a laundromat, things are rolling along, people are talking to one another, folding laundry, thinking about laundry, looking at laundry, and then eventually I realize that there’s a ghost in the corner. You know how the scene gets at a bar if you stay there until last call, ten minutes after last call, half an hour? The drunk stumbles out of the back door and sings an aria to a line of trash cans. A woman pulls up in a convertible and throws a birdcage at him. It’s the same thing. If you stay in the room long enough, something strange is going to happen.
—The Future of American Fiction: An Interview with Amelia Gray By Emily Temple
How would you like those eggs?
AG: POACHED BITCH
— Life Beyond Writing Q&A: Amelia Gray by Dennis Mahoney
There is long tradition that links the craft of writing with poverty. Do you think that’s appropriate? Does poverty feel like the most appropriate condition for your practice as a writer?
Leisure is the most appropriate condition; I imagine the kind of true poverty that finds its way into a full-time retail job with no health insurance and screaming children and no heat in the winter would not lend itself to creative work. I am currently unemployed and low on funds but I have enough to get by, if not fully comfortably, at least with the time and energy to think and write.
— Pathos: Amelia Gray, Full-Stop
Amelia Gray grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Her first collection of stories, AM/PM, was published in 2009. Her second collection, Museum of the Weird, was awarded the Ronald Sukenick/American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize. THREATS is her first novel and it was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She lives in Los Angeles.