"There is no book I am happier to see getting a second life."
– Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and An Untamed State
“The world is both terrifyingly huge and unbelievably small for the cast of characters in this debut collection from Ostlund…But despite these stories' pervasive, powerful sadness, which always requires reflection and pause at each of their closings, their flawless execution—all tenderness, dark humor, and full realization—compels the reader onward. Ostlund will certainly soon be marking her place among writers like Michelle Huneven, Shirley Jackson, Alice Munro, Dorothy Allison, and Karen Joy Fowler—masters of their own devastating, immersive universes. An achingly beautiful collection as unpredictable and resonant as life itself.”
– Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Ostlund’s remarkable debut collection deftly navigates the treacherous shoals of decaying relationships in which the protagonists often escape to faraway lands in order to find themselves, or, at the very least, their partners...Ostlund’s artful prose is playfully complex and illuminating, evocative and unsentimental…Each piece is sublime.”
– Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The Bigness of the World brings to mind the work of Flannery O'Connor and other Southern Gothic writers such as William Faulkner, Truman Capote and Carson McCullers...Like O'Connor, Ostlund enables us to step back from everyday life's banalities and see how completely we are estranged from each other—and connected to each other.”
– Star Tribune
“The Bigness of the World is simply a stunning collection—every story jewel-crafted and resonant…This is a book to remake our imaginary landscape—the kind of book I not only recommend, I advocate. Read this, I want to tell people. You need these stories. You do.”
– Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina and Trash
“Ostlund wields language in terribly complex ways building exceptional sentences, long and swollen with nuance and history, creating narratives that take the long way around. Each story holds a certain very smart wit that endears.”
– Roxane Gay, Pank
"Ostlund, whose work has been included in the Best American and also PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, is a writer to watch. She constantly delights the reader with the subtlety of her insights as well as the carefulness of her prose, as we find that beneath the comic observations of cultural misunderstanding, or a couple's quirky habits, lies a genuine melancholy—and the sense that while there is absurdity in reticence, there is sadness in it too."
– San Francisco Chronicle