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Olivia Clare's delightfully strange and tender debut collection traces the impact of larger-than-life forces on everyday people. From siblings whose relationship is as fragile as glass, to a woman grappling with both an emotional and physical drought, to a superstitious spouse fearful of misfortune, Disasters in the First World explores the real and the imagined, environmental and man-made calamities, and the human need to comprehend the unknown. In "Pittsburgh in Copenhagen," a man and a woman confront infidelity and estrangement as they share one last night together. "Petur" tells the tale of a son who takes his mother on an Icelandic vacation only to be stranded there by a volcanic eruption. "Rusalka's Long Legs" follows a young girl's treacherously long walk through the woods with her unpredictable mother. And in "The Visigoths," an older sister finally breaks through to her idiosyncratic brother. With precision and grace, the thirteen stories in this collection capture the fragility of troubled lives caught in disrupted turbulence, moments of connection--no matter how fleeting. Through these intimate, profoundly moving worlds, Clare's voice rises as a distinctive new American storyteller.
About the Author
Olivia Clare's fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Granta, n+1, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, among other publications, and she is the author of a book of poems, The 26-Hour Day. She holds master's degrees from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Southern California, and she was recently a Black Mountain Institute Ph.D. Fellow at University of Nevada. She teaches creative writing at Sam Houston State University.