With her first collection of short fiction, Deb Olin Unferth lets the rest of the world know what those who've been following literary journals and the Pushcart Prize have known for a while – she's one of the best. Her stories are about people who are determined – sometimes flawed, damaged, oblivious, or just plain mean, but always determined. She understands the way people become attached to things, and her stories are like catalogs of life, lists of experiences and jobs, poolside detritus and terrible disappointments. In a voice comically detached which, impossibly, makes these stories all the more visceral and immediate, her writing explores the things we're inseparable from and merely accustomed to, what our attachments say about how we live in the world and the damage we'll inflict on each other to avoid letting go.— Chris Lee
"Deb Olin Unferth's stories are so smart, fast, full of heart, and distinctive in voice--each an intense little thought-system going out earnestly in search of strange new truths. What an important and exciting talent."--George Saunders
For more than ten years, Deb Olin Unferth has been publishing startlingly askew, wickedly comic, cutting-edge fiction in magazines such as Granta, Harper's Magazine, McSweeney's, NOON, and The Paris Review. Her stories are revered by some of the best American writers of our day, but until now there has been no stand-alone collection of her short fiction.
Wait Till You See Me Dance consists of several extraordinary longer stories as well as a selection of intoxicating very short stories. In the chilling "The First Full Thought of Her Life," a shooter gets in position while a young girl climbs a sand dune. In "Voltaire Night," students compete to tell a story about the worst thing that ever happened to them. In "Stay Where You Are," two oblivious travelers in Central America are kidnapped by a gunman they assume to be an insurgent--but the gunman has his own problems.
An Unferth story lures you in with a voice that seems amiable and lighthearted, but it swerves in sudden and surprising ways that reveal, in terrifying clarity, the rage, despair, and profound mournfulness that have taken up residence at the heart of the American dream. These stories often take place in an exaggerated or heightened reality, a quality that is reminiscent of the work of Donald Barthelme, Lorrie Moore, and George Saunders, but in Unferth's unforgettable collection she carves out territory that is entirely her own.
About the Author
Deb Olin Unferth is the author of Minor Robberies, Vacation, and Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War, which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in autobiography. She lives in Austin, Texas.