From Kate Walbert, the highly acclaimed, National Book Award nominee, comes a dazzling, career-spanning collection of new and selected stories.
In these twelve deft, acutely funny and often heartbreaking stories, Kate Walbert delves into the hearts and minds of women. Her characters are searchers, uneasy in one way or another. They yearn for connection. They question the definitions assigned to them as wives, mothers, and daughters; they seek their own way within isolated, and often isolating, circumstances, reveling in small, everyday epiphanies and moments of clarity.
In the riveting opening story “M&M World,” a woman is plunged into panic when she briefly loses one of her daughters at the vast and over-stimulating Times Square store. In “Slow the Heart,” a single mother tries to ease tension at the dinner table with Roses and Thorns, the game she knows the Obamas played in the White House. In “Radical Feminists,” a woman skating with her two children encounters the man who derailed her career years earlier. And in the poignant, “A Mother Is Someone Who Tells Jokes,” a mother reflects on the nursery school project that preceded her son’s autism diagnosis. This is a deeply moving, resonant collection from a writer “rightly celebrated for her ability to capture the variety and vulnerability of women’s lives with a combination of lyricism and brawn” (NPR).
Kate Walbert is the author of six previous books of fiction: His Favorites; The Sunken Cathedral;A Short History of Women, a New York Times Book Review ten best books of the year and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Our Kind, a National Book Award finalist; The Gardens of Kyoto; and the story collection Where She Went. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize stories. She lives with her family in New York City.
“This is a piercing, intimate, and exquisite collection.”—Publishers Weekly
"Tales of spare, unflinching beauty show how love and loneliness can occupy a heart together.” —Kirkus Reviews
“I loved these stories, wide-open, varied, generous, warm, funny.”—Tessa Hadley, author of Late in the Day
“Kate Walbert is inarguably one of our foremost chroniclers of the existential dilemma of being not just a woman, but a human. With astonishing precision, alive and alert to the complications embedded in even the simplest exchange, Walbert slips into the fissures and fault lines of her utterly compelling characters doing the best of what a writer can do: she makes the familiar strange, and in doing so, reveals the glorious complexity of a world we only think we know.”—Marisa Silver, author of Mary Coin
Praise for His Favorites:
“His Favorites is exactly the book for our times. That Kate Walbert has managed to write a novel that is riveting, terrifying, and yet always charmingly buoyant, speaks volumes to how well she understands women. If you’re trying to figure out what’s going on, how these things happen, read this book.” —Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth
“The writing is so beautiful and exact—so startling in every sentence—that His Favorites took me way past what I thought I knew. This is a novel that shines with a laser beam, lighting what needs to be lit.” –Joan Silber, award-winning author of Improvement
“The smartest, most brutally true novel I’ve read this year. His Favorites reveals Kate Walbert’s dazzling ability to render the unsayable.” –Carolyn Cooke, author of Daughters of the Revolution
“Of all the lessons gleaned from #MeToo, one stands out as particularly sinister: before things turn treacherous, there’s a moment when predation can feel dangerously like kindness. A young person, not yet aware of his or her power, is made to feel special–and then it’s too late. Kate Walbert understands this… His Favorites begs to be read.” —Lucy Feldman, Time
“A layered, time-bending book that depicts the lingering effects of abuse…there will be no mistaking Walbert for anything but devastatingly relevant.” —Lauren Mechling, Vogue
"Kate Walbert's most powerful novel yet... fueled by gorgeous writing, as well as outrage... heartbreaking and galvanizing." —Heller McAlpin, NPR.org
"At just 150 pages long, His Favorites… is impossible to put down." —Rosa Inocencio Smith, The Atlantic
“A quick and powerful read, with a story both gripping and harrowing…you’ll read this tense, taut, and thrilling novel in the shadow of #MeToo and ache for violated women across the decades.” —Samantha Irby, Marie Claire
"An unflinching addition to the #MeToo conversation.” —Cory Oldweiler, AM New York
"A sharp look at school days that are anything but idyllic...Walbert’s slim, impactful novel, distinguished as all her work is by beautiful writing and a wealth of literary allusions, could not be more timely.” —Booklist
“Taut, powerful…Jo narrates with brutal honesty…Her story, filled with rage and regret and intensified by its searing portrait of self-aware, self-destructive teenage girls, provides a case history in male-female relationships built on an imbalance of power.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“Rendered in crystalline, matter-of-fact prose relating the narrator’s own emotional numbness and distancing, this self-aware metanovel is well timed for our current political era. Walbert packs a punch.” —Library Journal, STARRED review
Praise for A Short History of Women:
"Wickedly smart . . . A gorgeously wrought and ultimately wrenching work of art." —Leah Hager Cohen, New York Times Book Review (cover review)
"Ambitious and impressive . . . Reminiscent of a host of innovative writers from Virginia Woolf to Muriel Spark to Pat Barker . . . A witty and assured testament to the women’s movement and women writers, obscure and renowned.” —Washington Post
"A subtle and profound book, as thought-provoking as it is moving." —Ann Packer, author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier
"What a marvelous book: one part Transit of Venus, one part Stone Diaries, one part incomparable. Actually, that's not true: she write like a female Ian McEwan." —Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America