The BookBrowse Review

Published January 22, 2020

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Book Jacket

Verge
by Lidia Yuknavitch
4 Feb 2020
208 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Books
ISBN-13: 9780525534877
Genre: Short Stories/Essays
Critics:
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A fiercely empathetic group portrait of the marginalized and outcast in moments of crisis, from one of the most galvanizing voices in American fiction.

I tell you, do not go near that place. Do not go near it. Graywolves guard the ground there. Girls are growing from guts, enough for a body and language all the way out of this world.

An eight-year-old trauma victim is enlisted as an underground courier, rushing frozen organs through the alleys of Eastern Europe. A young janitor transforms discarded objects into a fantastical, sprawling miniature city until a shocking discovery forces him to rethink his creation. A brazen child tells off a pack of schoolyard tormentors with the spirited invention of an eleventh commandment. A wounded man drives eastward, through tears and grief, toward an unexpected transcendence.

Lidia Yuknavitch's bestselling novels The Book of Joan and The Small Backs of Children, and her groundbreaking memoir The Chronology of Water, have established her as one of our most urgent contemporary voices: a writer with a rare gift for tracing the jagged boundaries between art and trauma, sex and violence, destruction and survival. In Verge, her first collection of short fiction, she turns her eye to life on the margins, in all its beauty and brutality. A book of heroic grace and empathy, Verge is a viscerally powerful and moving survey of our modern heartache life.

"[B]rilliant... The stories are consistently incisive, with sharp sentences and a barreling pace...This riveting collection invites readers to see women whose points of view are typically ignored." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In Verge, characters find their meaning and faith in their own bodies, grounded in physicality and anatomy, pain and desire. These stories are daring, provoking, and incendiary." - Booklist (starred review)

"But where there are risks, there are rewards, and these howls from the throats of women, queer characters, the impoverished, and the addicted remind us of the beauty and pain of our shared humanity. Gutsy stories from one of our most fearless writers." - Kirkus Reviews

"Children harvest organs, janitors build magical worlds, and mourning lovers drive to destinations unknown in this searing, precise collection of short stories." - Vogue

"Yuknavitch is one of the most celebrated contemporary writers. [Now she] returns with a collection of short stories that embody her unique blend of the unsettling and the delightful." - Electric Literature

"A vertiginous and revelatory book whose characters—sometimes in desperate situations, and sometimes, finally, in a place of safety—have much to say about the world that we live in now. Lidia Yuknavitch is astonishing." - Kelly Link

"Verge is a wonderful, challenging book. I know these people. I know their dilemmas, and where I don't recognize them, I believe them. The passion Lidia Yuknavitch brings to the page is astounding. I am caught up, shaken up, and now and then simply delighted. 'Listen to this,' I call out to friends, and then, minutes later: 'No, wait, listen to this!'" - Dorothy Allison

Lidia Yuknavitch is the National Bestselling author of the novels The Book of Joan and The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader's Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and a critical book on war and narrative, Allegories Of Violence (Routledge). Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader's Choice. The Misfit's Manifesto, a book based on her recent TED Talk, was published by TED Books. Her new collection of fiction, Verge, is due out from Riverhead Books in Winter 2020.

She has also had writing appear in publications including Guernica Magazine, Ms., The Iowa Review, Zyzzyva, Another Chicago Magazine, The Sun, Exquisite Corpse, TANK, and in the anthologies Life As We Show It (City Lights), Wreckage of Reason (Spuytin Duyvil), Forms at War (FC2), Feminaissance (Les Figues Press), and Representing Bisexualities (SUNY), as well as online at The Rumpus.

She founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland Oregon, where she teaches both in person and online. She received her doctorate in Literature from the University of Oregon. She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.

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