The State of Kansas
GenPop Books, 2012
Short Fictions | 6″x8″, 100 pp | Trade paperback
In simple, rhythmic, nail-sharp prose, the cast of unnamed characters in The State of Kansas survive a flood, brush their teeth, drink, attend a sinister dinner party, try to love others, think a lot about death (animal and human), and weigh the confusion of trying to and a place—decent or otherwise—in a big, beautiful, and often unforgiving America.
The State of Kansas is such an amazing book that I was already recommending it to people before I finished reading it. Spallholz utterly nails the way we find and create menace in apparently innocuous or homey things like bricks or piles of dishes or who really owns the cat. Her pithy pointed tales show that we’re all, despite our efforts to play nice, domestic terrorists. This book is awesome.
—Rebecca Brown, author of American Romances, The Gifts of the Body, The Last Time I Saw You, and others
I’m guessing that Lydia Davis and Diane Williams fans will be the most excited, but only because no one is waiting on new Hemingway or Carver, and Spallholz is something like the love child of all four. Don’t ask me how that works, or how Spallholz does what she does, but the end result is an astonishing debut. Indeed the whole genre of short-fictions is getting a major facelift of late, thanks to a proliferation of young and youngish U.S. women writers such as Danielle Dutton, Amelia Gray, Joanna Howard, Alissa Nutting, Joanna Ruocco, Deb Olin Unferth, Lidia Yuknavitch, et al—and now, Julianna Spallholz. I have been welcomed into homes I should not have been welcomed into, writes Spallholz. I have touched things I probably should not have touched. Hell yeah. Lucky us.
—Christian Peet, Tarpaulin Sky
A wonderful, lush read by a drily witty writer. . . . Lovely use of language, of repetition, of sing-song-ness. . . . Fable-like. . . .
If Lydia Davis knew more people who hung out shirtless in small places and owned pitbulls instead of pedigreed cats, her stories might look at little like Julianna Spallholz’s. Lucky for us, we’ve already got Julianna Spallholz to write those stories.
—Amber Sparks, Vouched Books [read the full review]
About Julianna Spallholz
Julianna Spallholz’s short fiction and prose poetry has appeared in Caketrain, Denver Quarterly, NOÖ Weekly, Tarpaulin Sky, both print and audio issues of Gargoyle, and elsewhere. She has collaborated her work with musicians, visual artists, a DJ, and a chef. She currently teaches writing and English in upstate New York and is at work on a second collection of short fictions. The State of Kansas is her debut collection.
Read more at the GenPop Books author page for Julianna Spallholz.
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