Helen Moran is thirty-two years old, single, childless, college-educated, and partially employed as a guardian of troubled young people in New York. She’s accepting a delivery from IKEA in her shared studio apartment when her uncle calls to break the news: Helen’s adoptive brother is dead.
According to the internet, there are six possible reasons why her brother might have killed himself. But Helen knows better: she knows that six reasons is only shorthand for the abyss. Helen also knows that she alone is qualified to launch a serious investigation into his death, so she purchases a one-way ticket to Milwaukee. There she searches her childhood home and attempts to uncover why someone would choose to die. She faces her estranged family, her brother’s few friends, and discovers what it truly means to be alive.
Cottrell’s debut has shades of Bernhard, Beckett, and Bowles, but is also a bleak comic tour de force that’s by turns poignant, uproariously funny, viscerally unsettling, and is the singular voice of Patty Yumi Cottrell.
Publishers Weekly's starred review notes: "Cottrell gives Helen the impossible task of understanding what would drive another person to suicide, and the result is complex and mysterious, yet, in the end, deeply human and empathetic."
From Nathan Scott McNamara in Los Angeles Times Review of Books: "The gorgeous cover of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace features a black-and-white photograph of a waterfall and evokes one of the therapeutic skills — called The Waterfall Coping Strategy — prescribed in the book. Helen’s co-worker who suffers from PTSD says that whenever she tries to fall asleep at night, she can’t help but think of the spray of that person’s blood on her face, and her therapist told her to instead think of the spray from a beautiful, peaceful waterfall. This encouragement conjures the fragile search for serenity that’s at the heart of this book — the ease with which a feeling can switch from something like the sensation of cool water to warm blood and back again."
About the Author: Patty Yumi Cottrell is a former Milwaukeean whose work has appeared in BOMB, Gulf Coast, and Black Warrior Review, among other places.