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In many of my stories, characters are thrown off balance by odd encounters with people or situations they didn’t see coming, and their shakiness in the wake of those encounters gets them questioning their conceptions of the world and themselves.
McCollum guides readers through the jagged terrain of her characters’ consciousness, plunging into the most vulnerable and wounded corners through her sharp and cutting prose.
I love short stories that whirl and whirl and then suddenly stop, so we’re left wobbly, buzzing, stunned.
McCollum’s writing is edgy, energetic, often funny.
I wanted to go beyond the archetypal image of Midwesterners as clear-eyed and level-headed – or as provincial and repressed – and explore characters with more complexity.
The Quiet-Loud-Quiet scheme you hear in a lot of 90s songs lines up with my book’s characters, who often struggle to articulate what they most long for – and then suddenly explode.
The 12 loosely linked tales in McCollum’s prize-winning, virtuosic debut are as funny and vivid as the characters are lonely and desperate.