Wait Till You See Me Dance by Deb Olin Unferth
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The temptation to write neat and linear cause-and-effect is overwhelming. But Unferth resists, because the truth is that we contain queasy, flickering, tender multitudes.
-NPR

Synopsis

“Deb Olin Unferth’s stories are so smart, fast, full of heart, and distinctive in voice―each an intense little thought-system going out earnestly in search of strange new truths. What an important and exciting talent.”―George Saunders

For more than ten years, Deb Olin Unferth has been publishing startlingly askew, wickedly comic, cutting-edge fiction in magazines such as Granta, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, NOON, and The Paris Review. Her stories are revered by some of the best American writers of our day, but until now there has been no stand-alone collection of her short fiction.

Wait Till You See Me Dance consists of several extraordinary longer stories as well as a selection of intoxicating very short stories. In the chilling “The First Full Thought of Her Life,” a shooter gets in position while a young girl climbs a sand dune. In “Voltaire Night,” students compete to tell a story about the worst thing that ever happened to them. In “Stay Where You Are,” two oblivious travelers in Central America are kidnapped by a gunman they assume to be an insurgent―but the gunman has his own problems.

An Unferth story lures you in with a voice that seems amiable and lighthearted, but it swerves in sudden and surprising ways that reveal, in terrifying clarity, the rage, despair, and profound mournfulness that have taken up residence at the heart of the American dream. These stories often take place in an exaggerated or heightened reality, a quality that is reminiscent of the work of Donald Barthelme, Lorrie Moore, and George Saunders, but in Unferth’s unforgettable collection she carves out territory that is entirely her own.

 

About Deb Olin Unferth

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Deb Olin Unferth is the author of the story collection Minor Robberies and the novel Vacation, winner of the 2009 Cabell First Novelist Award and a New York Times Book Review Critics' Choice. Her work has been featured in Harper's Magazine, McSweeney's, The Believer, and the Boston Review. She has received two Pushcart Prizes and a 2009 Creative Capital grant for Innovative Literature and was a Harper's Bazaar Editors' Choice: Name to Know in 2011. She teaches at Wesleyan University and currently lives in New York.
 
Published March 21, 2017 by Graywolf Press. 200 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Wait Till You See Me Dance
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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Annalisa Quinn on Mar 26 2017

The temptation to write neat and linear cause-and-effect is overwhelming. But Unferth resists, because the truth is that we contain queasy, flickering, tender multitudes.

Read Full Review of Wait Till You See Me Dance: S... | See more reviews from NPR

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Helen Phillips on Apr 28 2017

Yet even as she despairs over these fragments, she delivers her lament with exquisite precision and rhythm. Again and again in these pages, Unferth swerves from the mundane to the extraordinary, from biting to soaringly celebratory, often in a single sentence.

Read Full Review of Wait Till You See Me Dance: S... | See more reviews from NY Times

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