For Immediate Release
Review copies, book cover and author photograph jpegs, and interviews available upon request.
Contact: Michele Orwin | 202-299-9551 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Blackwell's Highly Praised Short Story Collection Now Available in Paperback and E-Book
Stories that probe the ordinary and reveal the unexpected
The twelve stories in Kate Blackwell’s debut collection, You Won’t Remember This, published to high praise by Southern Methodist University Press in 2007 and released in paperback and ebook by Bacon Press Books on May 1, 2015, illuminate the lives of men and women who appear as unremarkable as your next-door neighbor until their lives explode quietly on the page. Her wry, often darkly funny voice describes the repressed underside of a range of middle-class characters in the South. Blackwell’s focus is elemental—on marriage, birth, death, and the entanglements of love at all ages—but her gift is to shine a light on these universal situations with such lucidity, it is as if one had never seen them before.
In “My First Wedding,” a twelve-year-old girl attends her cousin’s Deep South nuptials, where she discovers both mystery and disillusionment and, in the end, finds she’s not immune to her family’s myth of romantic love.
In “Heartbeatland,” when a young woman’s husband dies suddenly, she refuses to sell his Jeep to an importuning gay neighbor. The more she clings to the Jeep—and to the memory of her beloved David—the more he becomes someone she doesn’t recognize.
In “Queen of the May,” a former belle looks for ways to assuage her loneliness in her large new house in the empty Carolina sandhills.
Blackwell began writing fiction after a career in journalism. At first she wrote stories in order to learn how to write novels, but the strategies of the short form proved a pleasure all their own. “Stories are more like poems than novels,” she says. “Besides, I fell in love with the challenge of the story: compressing a life into twenty pages, finding the right ending.”
She also sees the story as a particularly democratic form. “The modern short story isn’t just a short read versus a long one. Following the tradition that began with Chekhov, it’s become the literary voice of the individual, often the solitary, whose pain and fear go unheard”—like the protagonist in Olive Kittredge, for example, or the provincial characters in Alice Munro’s stories.
“I try for stories that allow us entry to the inner lives of people we wouldn’t otherwise know. What we find isn’t what we expect.” In this way, she believes, fiction “helps us develop the capacity for empathy, the willingness to probe under the surface, to inquire and understand rather than judge.”