Poignant and sweeping ... paints a beautiful and multifaceted portrait of domestic life in modern America. In stories ranging in length from three to eight pages, McGraw explores marriage, parenting, loss, and addiction with care and a keen ability to shade character ... The stories find humanity in every situation, no matter how unsympathetic. Readers will find themselves understanding adulterers and murderers, not for their destructive choices but for the greater sum of their lives—an impressive feat, considering the brevity of the format. Standouts from the collection include a story about a white girl cast as a Puerto Rican in a high-school production of West Side Story and a vignette about a wedding-dress designer seeing an influx of single brides commissioning gowns. Perfect for fans of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and Julie Buntin’s Marlena .
With her newest short story collection, Erin McGraw gives her readers an incredible gift: one story to savor for every week of the year (plus a bonus!) if anyone could resist the urge to stop with just one. But as with potato chips or Girl Scout cookies, that’s nearly impossible. Joy: And 52 Other Very Short Stories is full of compulsively readable little stories that each feel developed beyond their few pages. Some are ironic or clever; others are poignant and wrenching; all of them are driven by McGraw’s strong, confident sense of voice for her characters ... The characters in Joy don’t want to be broken and they often go wrong, and the beauty of this book is in how McGraw makes us love them for all their human flaws and fragile hopes.
If you are in search of a story collection that feels as transformative and satisfying as a novel, then look no further than Erin McGraw’s Joy ... What makes Joy truly special is how easily McGraw gets in your head. The stories resonate long after they end, each time making the reader wonder, 'Would I have handled it differently?' A terrific pick for a book club, Joy is bound to impress.
Deals with the profound, the dire, the mundane, and the ridiculous, paying particular attention to relationships between parents and children, siblings, spouses, criminals and their victims. While some stories are meant purely to amuse, many are intense and beautiful ... Fifty-three gems that demonstrate all the things a short story can do. Wow.
McGraw’s fourth collection proves she’s a master of the form. Across these 53 brief stories, it is astonishing what she is able to conjure up in the span of a few pages ... McGraw is wise and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, with a seventh sense for the perfect turn of phrase ... This quintessential collection of stories serves as an homage to the form while showcasing McGraw’s stunning talent and deep empathy for the idiosyncrasies, small joys, and despairs of human nature.