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And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges (Paperback)
This is Amber Sparks’ first book and it firmly establishes her as a font of weird ideas incandescently expressed: the stories in this collection are concerned with ghosts, and history, and women’s anger, thwarted ambition, and desperation. Written in a knowing, nearly jaded tone, the stories are too cool to take themselves seriously, so much so that when the impossible happens, when escape is in sight, and an ending could be happy, they seem themselves taken aback.
Sparks threads narratives seamlessly through the mundane and the magic, past, present, and future, making deft and economical use of the bottomless vat of shared references we all now have access to through the internet. However, there’s nothing predictable or stale about these stories: Sparks’ art is in these strange constructions, pieced together from bits that are familiar on their own but take on delightful new casts when fitted together.
—Sarah, Longfellow Books— From Sarah Recommends!
Amber Sparks holds her crown in the canon of the weird with this fantastical collection of “eye-popping range” (John Domini, Washington Post).
Boldly blending fables and myths with apocalyptic technologies, Amber Sparks has built a cultlike following with And I Do Not Forgive You. Fueled by feminism in all its colors, her surreal worlds—like Kelly Link’s and Karen Russell’s—are all-too-real. In “Mildly Happy, With Moments of Joy,” a friend is ghosted by a text message; in “Everyone’s a Winner at Meadow Park,” a teen coming-of-age in a trailer park befriends an actual ghost. Rife with “sharp wit, and an abiding tenderness” (Ilana Masad, NPR), these stories shine an interrogating light on the adage that “history likes to lie about women,” as the subjects of “You Won’t Believe What Really Happened to the Sabine Women” will attest. Written in prose that both shimmers and stings, the result is “nothing short of a raging success, a volume that points to a potentially incandescent literary future” (Kurt Baumeister, The Brooklyn Rail).
About the Author
Amber Sparks is the author of The Unfinished World, and her fiction and essays have appeared in American Short Fiction, Paris Review, Tin House, Granta, and elsewhere. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, daughter, and two cats.
[Sparks] impresses with her exceptional collection of wry, feminist stories.... Some stories smuggle incredible emotional impact into surprisingly few pages.... Sparks’s sardonic wit never distracts from her polished dismantling of everyday and extraordinary abuses. Readers will love this remarkable, deliciously caustic collection.
— Publishers Weekly [starred review]
Irreverent and clever characters take center stage in Sparks’s latest collection.... The pieces here are beyond the classification of any one genre, borrowing from fairy tales, fantasy, coming-of-age, modern life, and social commentary.... Each story is vivid, unexpected, and satisfyingly weird. Darkly comic and whip-smart, this collection is recommended for readers of Aimee Bender and Alexandra Kleeman.
— Emily Hamstra - Library Journal
Few readers will encounter with any frequency such bold, bizarre, and brutally honest content as is in Sparks’ (The Unfinished World and Other Stories, 2016) new collection.... Sparks’ imagination seems limitless, her approaches to style and form without boundaries. Yet there is a cohesive voice and intention here, whether Sparks is using the vehicles of myth, history, and fantasy in her attempts to unravel rather than weave together tales of women’s true experiences. To escape possession, find one's self, exert force without shame or justification, and tell what really happened—these themes rise like foam on the roiling bone-rich broth of righteous feminine rage. At once timely, wickedly funny, and uncomfortably real, Sparks’ singular stories have the power to shake us wide awake and shatter every last happily-ever-after illusion.
— Janet St. John, Booklist
What joyful play and heart and movement in these stories, full of permission and the thrum of ideas bursting and growing on the page. To read one is like a bon-bon on a silver platter with a lit sparkler stuck inside.
— Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master
Amber Sparks’ stories are, precisely, like her name: precious things delivered in a burst of fire and light.
— Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body & Other Parties
Re-appropriating fairy tales, urban legends, and supernatural fantasies, Amber Sparks' startling kaleidoscopic visions re-cast familiar heroines in their own stories. Reading this was a delight!
— Ling Ma, author of Severance
In this genre-bending new collection, Amber Sparks has once again shown herself to be fearless and cutting, the insistent voice that breaks through the hand trying to silence it. I had a lot of fun reading these fresh, sharp, delicious stories, even as my neck prickled with doom.
— Lindsay Hunter, author of Eat Only When You’re Hungry
And I Do Not Forgive You is so cracklingly alive it singes your fingertips. These stories are fiercely funny, heartrending, enraged and enraging, redemptive—in short, essential. They’re also some of the most inventive stories I’ve read. I loved every one.
— Clare Beams, author of We Show What We Have Learned