Winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction

Oracular in vision, harrowing by nature, these gripping stories survey the bleak status of the American heartland: scoured by drugs, hollowed of hope, yet somehow still brimming with humanity . . . Engrossing and enthralling, these are stories that make you crack the spine.

Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master’s Son & National Book Award and Story Prize winner Fortune Smiles

Malinda McCollum’s stories are brilliantly cut from the hardest stuff, each one a perfect sharp-edged prism flashing insight from its depths . . .  I have the wildest admiration for this writer, whose debut collection announces her as a storyteller of the first order.  Everyone must read this daring and inimitable book.

Julie Orringer, author of The Invisible Bridge

The Surprising Place is hands-down the most arresting and incisive story collection I’ve read in years . . . Fiercely original, wise, funny, and deeply unsettling—short stories don’t get any better than this.

Doug Dorst, New York Times bestselling author of S. (with J.J. Abrams) & Alive in Necropolis

The Surprising Place is a daring and harrowing triumph that establishes Malinda McCollum as one of our finest short story writers. I am in awe of her talent and grace.

Amber Dermont, New York Times bestselling author of The Starboard Sea

Malinda McCollum’s linked short stories work like small bombs in the consciousness. She understands American optimism enough to turn it on its head, creating scenes with darkness enough to make Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor proud.

Edie Meidav, Juniper Prize judge and author of Kingdom of the Young

Malinda McCollum does sinister like no one since Robert Stone. Her stories are . . . populated with hopeless and hapless characters who are both compelling and surprisingly lovable. The Surprising Place will leave you stunned.

Mark Jude Poirier, author of Goats & Modern Ranch Living