A Swallow Press Book
“In unsentimental but intimate detail, a collection of stories peels back stereotypes about the lives of women in the past.…In spare but evocative prose, Holladay skillfully and subtly re-creates those earlier times while making clear their parallels to the present.…Women and girls often overlooked by history are given compelling voices in this collection.”
“…[Imagines] the lives of women who participated, unnamed, in so much of American history.…Backed by a beautiful sense of place.”
Garden & Gun
“Brides in the Sky contributes beautifully to [Holladay‘s] body of work, its stories brimming with vibrant life, nuanced characters, and plots fueled by surprising turns.…Brides in the Sky also delivers when it comes to sheer entertainment.”
“[The title story] does that great thing that [Alice Munro’s work] does where it travels these great distances of geography and time, and you never feel like you’re missing anything.…The amount of emotion that Cary Holladay is able to put in three sentences, it just feels like someone is punching you right in the heart.”
Nick White, author of Sweet and Low, on All Sides Weekend
Each of the crystalline worlds Cary Holladay brings us in the short stories and novella that make up Brides in the Sky has sisterhood, in all its urgency and peril, at its heart. In the title story, two women in 1850s Virginia marry brothers who promptly uproot them to follow the Oregon Trail west, until an unexpected shift of allegiance separates the sisters forever. Elsewhere in the book, a young boy’s kidnapping ignites tensions in a sorority house; frontier figure Cynthia Ann Parker struggles upon her return to her birth community from the Comanche people with whom she’s lived a full life; and in a metafictional twist, a gothic tale resonates in the present. In the novella, “A Thousand Stings,” three sisters come of age in the 1960s over a long summer of small-town scandal and universal stakes. These are just some of the lives, shaped by migrations, yearning, and the long shadows of myth, that Holladay creates. She crafts them with subtle humor, a stunning sense of place, and an unerring eye for character.
Cary Holladay has published seven volumes of fiction, including The Quick-Change Artist, Horse People: Stories, and The Deer in the Mirror. Her stories and essays have appeared in Ecotone, Epoch, Georgia Review, Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Oxford American, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Southern Review, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other journals. Her story “Merry-Go-Sorry” was selected by Stephen King for an O. Henry award. She teaches at the University of Memphis. More info →
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In these stories of magic and memory, clustered around a resort hotel in a small Virginia community, Cary Holladay takes the reader on an excursion through the changes wrought by time on the community and its visitors. From the quiet of a rural forest to the rhythms of rock and roll, The Quick-Change Artist is at once whimsical and hard-edged, dizzying in its matter-of-fact delivery of the fantastic.
Set in rural America amid an epidemic of opiate abuse, this collection of stories tells of a woman’s search for her own peculiar kind of redemption. Addict, thief, and liar, Maggie Boylan is queen of profanity, a hungry trickster. But she is also a woman of deep compassion and strength. Her journey is by turns frightening, funny, and deeply moving.
At age twenty, Ada’s reputation as a faith healer defines her in her rural Pennsylvania community. But on the day in 1953 that her family’s barn is consumed by flame, her identity is upended: for the first time, she fears death and doubts God. Fire Is Your Water, acclaimed memoirist Jim Minick’s first novel, builds on magical realism and social observation to offer an insider’s glimpse into the culture of Appalachia.
After months of wandering homeless through the landscape of Appalachia, a young woman named Rain finds herself part of a desperate family driven by exploitation and abuse. A harrowing story of choice and sacrifice, In the House of Wilderness is a novel about the modern South and how we fight through hardship and grief to find a way home.