New Collection of “Linked, Rural-Noir” Stories Depict Endangered Humans in Endangered Environments
Longlisted for Chautauqua Prize
Jaimee Wriston Colbert has given us a story collection for our times. In Wild Things, Colbert’s human characters face displacement, just like the tropical alligator who appears in New York’s Susquehanna River. They face sheer desperation, like that of an ohia tree clinging to solid lava on a Hawaiian volcano. In an environment where good-paying factory jobs are an endangered species, Colbert’s protagonists confront such post-industrial predations as meth, homelessness, and the ghosts of lost dreams. Their survival is their triumph.
Brace yourself for Jaimee Wriston Colbert’s Wild Things. These linked rural noir stories unfold their wings near the Susquehanna River in a landscape graced by wildlife and haunted by lost prosperity, “business after business failing, padlocking their doors, factories with their boarded up windows, just another has-been town slowly shutting down.” Those left behind must navigate the meth labs and broken families and their own oversized yearning. “Abstinence may lead you to god,” says one of Colbert’s women, “but it’s hunger that’ll get you fed.” These characters sing their hunger and dance their hard-won wisdom. These brilliant, surprising stories defy gravity and take flight.
—Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters
Jaimee Wriston Colbert is a storyteller of the first order, and Wild Things is intensely rewarding. A must read for short story lovers, the voice not only captivatingly original, but downright addictive. I did not want the collection to end, and for days afterward I could still hear that pitch-perfect blend of lyric and narrative whispering in my ear. Without question this is her finest book so far!
—Jack Driscoll, The World of a Few Minutes Ago
A tremendous new collection from a writer with extraordinary powers of observation and an empathic understanding of the thorny, heartbreaking human condition. There’s so much reverence for the world in Wild Things, so much intelligence and beauty on every page. A stunning book.
—Christine Sneed, Little Known Facts and The Virginity of Famous Men
Jaimee Wriston Colbert has written a book of deeply affecting elegies to the scattered remnants of wilderness, the some few wild things we still live among: blackbird, brown trout, reef shark, teenage girl. By turns luminous and razor-sharp, in landscapes as diverse as a shimmering beach in Oahu and a crumbling mill town in upstate New York, these characters find comfort, not only in the “peace of wild things” but also in their scrap and bite, their tenacious urge toward survival in an absurdly hostile world.
—Pam Houston, Contents May Have Shifted
Read an interview with the author in Fiction Writers Review.
Read the review on New Pages.
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