Potently witty, neurotic and nervy, Come Up and See Me Sometime marks the arrival of an irresistible new voice in fiction. Erika Krouse's debut story collection about sex and the single girl is smart, sharp-tongued and delightfully addictive.
The thirteen stories in this collection are linked by a common theme: the main characters are all young, childless, geographically and emotionally nomadic women who are searching for self-knowledge and satisfaction in the face of the vicissitudes of single life.
In Krouse's able hands, each of these agile stories manages to cull universal truth from idiosyncratic experience and delirious humor out of deepest pathos. "The Fast" is about a woman who seeks power, independence and immunity from heartbreak through a brief flirtation with a latte diet. "Drugs and You" is the story of an innocent woman who hits a heroin addict with her car and falls blindly in love. In "My Weddings," a woman nearing thirty relates a lifetime of attending nuptials, none of them her own.
Mae West, pop culture's original Liberated Woman, is the ingenious guiding spirit of the collection. Her famous quips -- "Peel me a grape," "Come up and see me sometime," "I used to be Snow White but I drifted" -- stand as both complement and telling counterpoint to the lives of Krouse's diverse characters. These are smart, searching, quick-witted women who may strive for the unflappable sass and self-sufficiency of a Mae West, but more often fall prey to their own anxieties.
Erika Krouse's perfect comic timing and dead-on one-liners lend levity to each story, and ultimately these seemingly everyday experiences become sly riffs on common fears of loneliness and isolation. Come Up and See Me Sometime is a delightful, thought-provoking and consistently surprising read.
New York Times Book Review - Maria Russo
[A] frisky and unexpectedly serious first book . . . The stories themselves are full of zingy one-liners that would give [Mae] West a run for her money, but they never detract from the book's sense of moral and literary heft.
Krouse's writing is meaty... her stories are remarkably unassuming and unpredictable. Grade A
Krouse is in the same league as Mary Gaitskill and Lorrie Moore, her fiction wise to the bravado required of Liberated Women through the ages.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Krouse possesses snappy timing, droll pithiness, and deep skepticism about love, marriage, motherhood, and the whole traditional shebang. Incoherent relationships, other people's weddings, abortions, drugs, poverty, fear of flying, and loneliness Krouse astutely ponders them all, balancing pain with mordant wit and a preference, always, for freedom.
Stacey Richter, author of My Date with Satan
Erika Krouse's prose is fresh and inventive, bursting with wit and oddball charm. Whether her characters are looking at the light at the end of the tunnel or just looking at the tunnel itself, these tales of women searching for love and connection are deft, moving and acutely funny. Reading this book is a bit like finding yourself seated next to a fascinating guest at a stuffy dinner party a wonderful, unexpected delight.
Jennifer Egan, author of The Invisible Circus
In Come Up and See Me Sometime, Erika Krouse makes an intelligent, dreamily off-kilter debut and manages the tricky feat of moving the reader without indulging in a single moment of sentimentality.
Margot Livesey, author of Criminals and The Missing World
Erika Krouse's dazzling debut is full of the best kinds of heroines witty, spirited, always ready to take a chance on love, or the next best thing. A lovely collection, bright with humor and unexpected wisdom.
Emily Wortis Leider, author of the biography Becoming Mae West
Erika Krouse invokes the free-spirited sass of Mae West by setting off each short story in her promising debut collection with a Mae West quip. Like her muse, Krouse focuses on savvy, sexy women who need loving, but need their autonomy more. Propelled by mordant wit, and an honesty that can sting, these gripping stories sometimes veer into dark territory. Their compressed intensity explodes on impact.
Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish and Ray in Reverse
Erika Krouse's stories about men and women and all the trouble they cause each other are painfully accurate, relentlessly hopeful and amazingly funny.
Percival Everett, author of Glyph and Watershed
These stories are smart, funny and unexpected. There is surprising range here. The patience of the work is beautiful, allowing full appreciation of the craft without calling attention to it.
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