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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.
About the Author
Lidia Yuknavitch is the nationally bestselling author of the novels The Book of Joan, The Small Backs of Children, Dora: A Headcase, and the memoir The Chronology of Water. She is the recipient of two Oregon Book Awards, a Willamette Writers Award, and was a finalist for the 2017 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize and the 2012 PEN Center Creative Nonfiction Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
“Brutal and beautiful.” — 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
“Brilliant. . . . 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
“Insistently visceral . . . 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
“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.”
“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!’"
“I can’t remember the last time I was as captivated by a collection as I am by Verge. The grace implicit in these stories is rare, and the way the book brings us to the verge of the unthinkable, and then leaves us to ponder our complicity, is astonishing.”
“Verge is a bouquet of dynamite: explosive, deadly, and spectacularly beautiful. These stories captivated me like modern fairy tales, and like those dark lessons they showed me how resilience is forged through survival, beauty through brokenness, joy by fire. The women who occupy them are my favorite kinds of heroines: as flawed as they are furious, as bold as they are tender. I won't soon forget them."
“Verge is dangerous. Lidia Yuknavitch, through multiple narratives, explores human endurance with brilliance and lightning power. She thunders life to each page. I am forever a fan.”
—Terese Marie Mailhot
“Lidia Yuknavitch is a life-giving sea creature, an anemone, opening and closing, showing us our beauty and dis-ease. These twenty breath-catching stories come from the margins, that place we all live now. Her work is a necessity, all the ways she forgives us, and urges us on.”