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Disasters in the First World: Stories
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Published:
Grove Atlantic 2017
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“Olivia Clare is pure literary dynamite . . . [She] writes with Carveresque clarity and bite and an elegance all her own. A bravura debut.” —Janet Fitch, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of White Oleander
 
Olivia Clare’s delightfully strange and tender debut collection traces the impact of larger-than-life forces on everyday people. From siblings whose relationship is as fragile as glass, to a woman grappling with both an emotional and physical drought, to a superstitious spouse fearful of misfortune, Disasters in the First World explores the real and the imagined, environmental and man-made calamities, and the human need to comprehend the unknown.
 
“These insightful stories . . . flout convention and work in mysterious ways. Two in particular—‘Pétur’ and ‘The Visigoths’—will probably be anthologized and taught and cherished for years to come. They’re so well crafted . . . [they] flicker with moments of rare insight and nuance . . . makes me want to pick up whatever Clare publishes next.” —Andrew Ervin, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Lyrical and elegiac . . . Clare’s writing sparkles with unexpected word choice . . . Her stories unfold in wonderfully astonishing turns . . . Tender yet occasionally biting, Disasters in the First World ekes narrative poetry out of tragedy . . . Clare writes compassionately and unflinchingly about mental suffering.” —Shelf Awareness
 
“Olivia Clare’s debut collection will surprise you with its poetic weirdness, its dark confidence. The ‘disasters’ in these stories are tragically indefinite, fissures in the lives of the characters, whom Clare brings to life with humor, wisdom, and brutal honesty.” —Vu Tran, author of Dragonfish
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/06/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780802189578
ASIN:
B01MRZ6BR2
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Olivia Clare. (2017). Disasters in the First World: Stories. Grove Atlantic.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Olivia Clare. 2017. Disasters in the First World: Stories. Grove Atlantic.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Olivia Clare, Disasters in the First World: Stories. Grove Atlantic, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Olivia Clare. Disasters in the First World: Stories. Grove Atlantic, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:08:54
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Olivia Clare's fiction has appeared in Granta, n+1, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, among other publications, and she is the author of a book of poems, The 26-Hour Day. She holds master's degrees from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Southern California, and she was recently a Black Mountain Institute Ph.D. Fellow at University of Nevada. She has also taught creative writing at Sam Houston State University.
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fullDescription
“Olivia Clare is pure literary dynamite . . . [She] writes with Carveresque clarity and bite and an elegance all her own. A bravura debut.” —Janet Fitch, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of White Oleander
 
Olivia Clare’s delightfully strange and tender debut collection traces the impact of larger-than-life forces on everyday people. From siblings whose relationship is as fragile as glass, to a woman grappling with both an emotional and physical drought, to a superstitious spouse fearful of misfortune, Disasters in the First World explores the real and the imagined, environmental and man-made calamities, and the human need to comprehend the unknown.
 
“These insightful stories . . . flout convention and work in mysterious ways. Two in particular—‘Pétur’ and ‘The Visigoths’—will probably be anthologized and taught and cherished for years to come. They’re so well crafted . . . [they] flicker with moments of rare insight and nuance . . . makes me want to pick up whatever Clare publishes next.” —Andrew Ervin, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Lyrical and elegiac . . . Clare’s writing sparkles with unexpected word choice . . . Her stories unfold in wonderfully astonishing turns . . . Tender yet occasionally biting, Disasters in the First World ekes narrative poetry out of tragedy . . . Clare writes compassionately and unflinchingly about mental suffering.” —Shelf Awareness
 
“Olivia Clare’s debut collection will surprise you with its poetic weirdness, its dark confidence. The ‘disasters’ in these stories are tragically indefinite, fissures in the lives of the characters, whom Clare brings to life with humor, wisdom, and brutal honesty.” —Vu Tran, author of Dragonfish
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Andrew Ervin, New York Times Book Review
      • content: "These insightful stories . . . flout convention and work in mysterious ways. Two in particular--'Pétur' and 'The Visigoths'--will probably be anthologized and taught and cherished for years to come. They're so well crafted . . . [they] flicker with moments of rare insight and nuance . . . makes me want to pick up whatever Clare publishes next."
      • premium: False
      • source: Amy Brady, Shelf Awareness (starred review)
      • content: "Lyrical and elegiac . . . Clare's writing sparkles with unexpected word . . . Her stories unfold in wonderfully astonishing turns . . . Tender yet occasionally biting, Disasters in the First World ekes narrative poetry out of tragedy . . . Clare writes compassionately and unflinchingly about mental suffering."
      • premium: False
      • source: Rebecca Joines Schinsky, Book Riot
      • content: "If Karen Russell wrote realistic fiction . . . everyday people grappling with really big things . . . Disasters big and small about modern life and the difficulties of being a person connecting with other people, doing the right thing."
      • premium: False
      • source: Tex Kerschen, Houston Post
      • content: "Clare's fiction has a spryness and a wryness one could describe as Barthelme-esque, without so much of DB's arch, sometimes off-putting minimalism. Clare's fiction has closely observed sympathy that could be described as Munro-esque, with a tick-tock contemporaneity that evokes early '80s Beatty. What we're getting at is that there're a lot of ins and outs to this case."
      • premium: False
      • source: Leah Strauss, Booklist
      • content: "Clare's debut short story collection explores the lives of varied characters--lovers, family, and tenants; the links they forge with others; and the odd, confounding worlds they inhabit . . . In these thoughtful tales, Clare, winner of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award and an O. Henry Prize, presents characters who, instead of begging for sympathy, seem to desire clarity."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Intimate and incisive . . . Clare's characters are believable in their frailty and vulnerability, and the clarity and strength of her voice gives these stories a lingering power."
      • premium: False
      • source: Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black
      • content: "Olivia Clare is pure literary dynamite. In these stories, humor and dread oscillate at sonic speed, and the worldliness of the sensibility never negates its vulnerability. Clare writes with Carveresque clarity and bite and an elegance all her own. A bravura debut."
      • premium: False
      • source: Vu Tran, author of Dragonfish
      • content: "Olivia Clare's debut collection will surprise you with its poetic weirdness, its dark confidence. The 'disasters' in these stories are tragically indefinite, fissures in the lives of the characters, whom Clare brings to life with humor, wisdom, and brutal honesty."
      • premium: False
      • source: Lauren Acampora, author of The Wonder Garden
      • content: "The ordinary is transformed in the crucible of Olivia Clare's mind. These stories are artful and strange, both otherworldly and gloriously earthbound. They'll wend their way into your consciousness with stealth."
      • premium: False
      • source: Marie-Helene Bertino, author of 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas
      • content: "The stories in Disasters in the First World are broad, clear, wild, caring, evocative, deceptively simple, clever without resorting to boring cynicism, deeply-affected and affecting, and rendered expertly with admirably few strokes. Sister to missing sister, vaulted son to mother, the characters who haunt these pages are marked in their depths by their profound and painful stumblings toward connection. They will stay with you for a very, very long time."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiestas
      • content: "Graceful and understated, the stories in Disasters in the First World probe the strangeness in the ordinary. Olivia Clare's language is insightful, shimmering, and entirely her own."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 17, 2017
        Its provocative title notwithstanding, Clare’s debut collection features 13 sensitive stories whose dramas are more intimate and incisive than earthshaking. In “Olivia,” a houseguest drives his hosts from initial confusion to anger with his daily accounts of a nonexistent cat whom he claims visits him regularly in his room. “Pétur” tells of a middle-aged mother, trapped with her son in Iceland following a volcanic eruption, who finds fulfillment in a lover whom she imagines into being in the uninhabited house next door. In “Pittsburgh in Copenhagen,” a pair of lovers unfaithful to their spouses find the uncertainties in their relationship magnified by a mysterious delivery of flowers to the woman’s apartment. Most of Clare’s stories feature characters who try with only marginal success to communicate their feelings to one another. “Things That Aren’t the World” is presented as a series of letters and messages through which a son and mother argue over the welfare of a younger sibling who is content living in her delusory world. “Two Cats, the Chickens, and Trees” ends devastatingly with a woman thinking of the mother-in-law whom she increasingly comes to love, “You must never admire her without wishing to be unlike her. You must hate when someone else loves her.” Clare’s characters are believable in their frailty and vulnerability, and the clarity and strength of her voice gives these stories a lingering power. Agent: Jin Auh, Wylie Agency.

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“Olivia Clare is pure literary dynamite . . . [She] writes with Carveresque clarity and bite and an elegance all her own. A bravura debut.” —Janet Fitch, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of White Oleander
 
Olivia Clare’s delightfully strange and tender debut collection traces the impact of larger-than-life forces on everyday people. From siblings whose relationship is as fragile as glass, to a woman grappling with both an emotional and physical drought, to a superstitious spouse fearful of misfortune, Disasters in the First World explores the real and the imagined, environmental and man-made calamities, and the human need to comprehend the unknown.
 
“These insightful stories . . . flout convention and work in mysterious ways. Two in particular—‘Pétur’ and ‘The Visigoths’—will probably be...
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