Shit Cassandra Saw: Book summary and reviews of Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby

Shit Cassandra Saw

Stories

by Gwen E. Kirby

Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby X
Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2022
    288 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

    Paperback Original.
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Book Summary

Margaret Atwood meets Buffy in these funny, warm, and furious stories of women at their breaking points, from Hellenic times to today.

Cassandra may have seen the future, but it doesn't mean she's resigned to telling the Trojans everything she knows. In this ebullient collection, virgins escape from being sacrificed, witches refuse to be burned, whores aren't ashamed, and every woman gets a chance to be a radioactive cockroach warrior who snaps back at catcallers. Gwen E. Kirby experiments with found structures--a Yelp review, a WikiHow article--which her fierce, irreverent narrators push against, showing how creativity within an enclosed space undermines and deconstructs the constraints themselves. When these women tell the stories of their triumphs as well as their pain, they emerge as funny, angry, loud, horny, lonely, strong protagonists who refuse to be secondary characters a moment longer.

From "The Best and Only Whore of Cym Hyfryd, 1886" to the "Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories," Kirby is playing and laughing with the women who have come before her and they are telling her, we have always been this way. You just had to know where to look.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Kirby's excellent debut collection follows a series of women empowered by new circumstances, sometimes with fantastical results...The prose is sharp and calibrated to suit each of Kirby's temporally and geographically diverse settings. She is even able to wring pathos from a story written in the format of a Yelp review...It's all accomplished through risk-taking and assured, well-developed craft. This is remarkable." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The stories, which highlight the lives of famous (and infamous) women from history as well as those of contemporary women and men, are both pointedly feminist and comic...With zany plots, unconventional forms, and playful, poetic language, these stories delight at every turn." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In dazzling story after story…Kirby meditates on the fears, joys and pains of being a woman throughout the centuries. Every story feels unique, yet they're tied together by Kirby's mind-bendingly confident writing and her clear fascination with strong yet vulnerable women…Shit Cassandra Saw is pure pleasure." - Bookpage (starred review)

"Remarkable...Wielding humor and shock, Kirby audaciously unmasks gender disparity with delightful, disturbing aplomb." - Shelf Awareness

"Radiant truths are arrived at raucously in Shit Cassandra Saw, Gwen E. Kirby's spirited debut story collection. Kirby writes with deadpan humor about louts and witches and cross-dressing pirates, gods and ghosts and whores in wildly entertaining stories that swerve into wisdom and deeply satisfy." - Christine Schutt, author of Pure Hollywood

"The stories in Shit Cassandra Saw strike fast and leave you humming in their mysteries. Gwen E. Kirby has written a book that boldly defies categorization, much like the women at its center. Here is a writer who is too good to tell a story just one way. I'll follow Kirby's mind anywhere." - Simon Han, author of Nights When Nothing Happened

This information about Shit Cassandra Saw shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Gwen E. Kirby

Gwen E. Kirby is a native San Diegan and graduate of Carleton College. She has an MFA from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati. Her stories appear in One Story, Tin House, Guernica, Mississippi Review, Ninth Letter, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. Guest editor Aimee Bender selected her story "Shit Cassandra Saw..." for Best Small Fictions 2018 and it also appears in the 2018 Wigleaf Top 50. Her story "Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories" won the 2017 DISQUIET Literary Prize for Fiction and she was the 2018-2019 George Bennett Fellow at Phillips Exeter Academy. Currently, she is the associate director of programs and finance for the Sewanee Writers' Conference at the University of the South, where she also teaches creative writing.

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