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In this stunningly original collection of seventeen short stories, Terese Svoboda navigates a terrain of alienation and loss with searing, poetic prose.
“I talk like a lady who knows what she wants,” begins the vagrant narrator of the title story. She insists there’s a wild child hiding among the cows in the gully near her home. Others in the trailer park think it’s just herself she’s chasing, but no one helps her sort out the truth—until there’s a murder. Stark and disturbing, “Trailer Girl” is a story of cycles of child abuse and the dream to escape them.
In “Psychic” a clairvoyant knows she’s been hired by a murderer, in “Leadership” a tiny spaceship lands between a boy and his parents, in “Lost the Baby” a partying couple forget where they dropped off their baby, and in “White” a grandfather explains to his grandson how a family is like a collection of chicken parts.
Frequently violent, always passionate, these often short short stories are not the condensed versions of longer works but are full-strength, as strong and precise as poetry.
About the Author
Terese Svoboda is the author of five volumes of poetry and four novels, including Tin God (Nebraska 2006), and, most recently, a nonfiction book, Black Glasses Like Clark Kent: A GI’s Secret from Postwar Japan, winner of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. In 2006 she won an O. Henry Award for her short story “80’s Lilies.”
“You have to listen, carefully, to Terese Svoboda’s stories. You have to read them slowly, more than once, sounding the words this way and that, letting yourself interpret, not with logic alone, but using the tools of poetry–association, juxtaposition, metaphor. Even what’s left out can be significant. For these are not so much stories in the traditional sense as tangled situations, networks of convoluted yet precisely controlled language. And you don’t read through them, but into them, going deeper each time.”—Women’s Review of Books
— Women's Review of Books
“Trailer Girl has the surreal poetry of a nightmare. . . . Svoboda has written a book of genuine grace and beauty.”—New York Times Book Review
— New York Times Book Review
“Unnerve thyself: the violent and enthralling short stories in Terese Svoboda’s Trailer Girl detonate on contact.”—Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair
— Vanity Fair
“The kind of satisfaction that one gets from [Svoboda’s] stories is quick and blinding, governed more by instinct than reason.”—Francie Lin, San Francisco Chronicle
— San Francisco Chronicle
“Compelling. . . . The language throughout is at once potent and oblique.”—Publishers Weekly
— Publishers Weekly
"Written in the style of dreamy prose poems about the alienated and edgy lives of the walking wounded, these stories shimmer and dazzle with an intensity that sometimes creates the feeling of the world as a floating, melting cloud of illusion."—Cheryl Reeves, Feminist Review
— Cheryl Reeves