Once in awhile, you come across an author who shifts your belief about what is possible; about what the written word can do, and what a short, ten-page story can make you feel. Carolyn Cooke is one of those authors, and Amor & Psycho will blow your mind.
It's dark and sexy. A little violent and surprisingly funny at the most inappropriate moments. Like life, I guess. Cooke isn't timid in her exploration of the terrifying things we face everyday; illness, poverty, misogyny, isolation-- it's all here, but minus the bleakness you would expect.
Her genius is her ability to connect you to characters and situations far afield from your own experiences with compassion, solidarity, and humor. Add her acrobatic, razor-sharp writing and BLAMO! Mind blown.— From Erin
A Publishers Weekly Best Fiction Book of 2013
Set against a vast American landscape that ranges from Manhattan to the lush rain forests and marijuana farms of Northern California, these eleven stories from the acclaimed author of The Bostons and Daughters of the Revolution dive into our darkest spaces, confronting the absurdity and poetry of human existence.
“Taut and gorgeous . . . Cooke approaches the subjects of sex and death, desire and illness, and the borderland between sanity and madness, civilization and the wild with a directness that is both disarming and enthralling . . . Her willingness to follow her characters to places of mystery, wonder, pain and confusion makes the experience of reading these intense, remarkable stories a deeply empathic one.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Luxurious. . . . The core of Cooke’s fiction is a subtle perversion, as well as a kind of sensual intelligence that is reminiscent of a writer like Mary Gaitskill.”
“Stories with edge.”
—The Houston Chronicle
“There is love in these stories, but mostly crazy love: off-kilter and temporary, not a quiet, permanent refuge. . . . Cooke’s vigorous language is its own reward.”
—The Boston Globe
“[Cooke’s] trademark incisiveness is right there on the page, undeniable. . . . An author who challenges readers and rewards us in surprising and lovely ways.”
—The Portland Press Herald
“Erotic, whimsical, profound. . . . Cooke writes with passion, empathy, and considerable humor as her characters face life-changing issues of divorce, illness, self-destruction, and impending death.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Sex and death go hand-in-hand in Cooke’s new book. . . . Cooke’s wit and heart enliven such somber material. Her clear, careful prose communicates understanding without resorting to cynicism or sentimentality.”
—The Miami Herald
“Carolyn Cooke’s writing is addictive. Her prose is so compulsive and flavorful, you can almost feel it in your bloodstream. . . . Cooke’s stories do not just confront realities: they grab them, pinch them, knead them, and then hand them over to the reader—who devours each story and is left with cravings for more.”
“Cooke’s new collection is one of the very best of 2013. . . . Cooke’s stories twist and turn, playing games with language. . . . They leave you with something: shards of phrases; a lifetime of attitudes conveyed in a word or an aside; or odd, perfect details that stick in your mind.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An edgy collection of powerful, engaging, offbeat stories. . . . The product of a mature and considerable talent.”
“Cooke takes readers to various cultures and times to examine the anxiety, hopes, struggles, and, above all, the ever-present human quest for love and acceptance. . . . A definite page-turner, leaving the discerning reader with memorable character upon which to reflect. . . . Cooke keeps readers aware of the travails and triumphs of their humanity.”