Last week, I wrote about how pleased we are to be publishing Kate Blackwell’s short story collection, you won’t remember this.
We aren’t the only ones who love this book.
Below are some of the great reviews you won’t remember this received when it was published in hardcover in 2007 by SMU Press. (Wish we had a cover and a link to go with this, but that will have to wait until next week.)
Praise for you won’t remember this
“If Blackwell has one unifying theme, it’s how ritual both distances people and enables them to live together. This shrewd collection should appeal to fans of contemporary Southern short story masters like Tim Gautreaux and John Biguenet.” - Publishers Weekly
“Engaging characters face the tangles of life—marriage, adultery, malfeasance, aging, pregnancy—in this adroit debut collection. Twelve finely crafted stories, based in the South, are grounded in the ordinary yet clarify nuances with intimate angles.” - Booklist
“With this short-story collection, Kate Blackwell enters the company of contemporary writers—Anne Tyler and Roxana Robinson come to mind—who plumb these shadowy, silent dramas. These writers understand how decisions happen little by little, so incrementally that final choices seem merely a consequence of everyday currents. It is on such pivots that Ms. Blackwell's stories turn.” – Linda Crosson, Dallas Morning News
“HOW do writers do it? How do they take the same tiresome human dramas and make us care, make us wonder how it will turn out this time? In the first story in this debut collection, ‘My First Wedding,’ the narrator asks, ‘For who will remember women like my mother, my aunt, and Augusta? Who will remember any of us who live so hidden, so far from nearly everything?’ The details of their lives, like those of many of Kate Blackwell’s middle-class women, are familiar to the point of invisibility. But something inside them struggles to get out.” – Susan Salter Reynolds, L.A. Times
“These stories reveal an exceptional, well-crafted talent that invites us into places and the lives of characters the reader would not otherwise have access. These are edgy lives filled with conflict and tension, stories that span decades. This book is a real treat for anyone who loves good writing.” – Alan Caruba, Bookviews
“Blackwell’s stories are jewels, each polished and tweaked to perfection, characters vividly rendered and plots as tightly wound as watch springs.” – Greg Langley, Baton Rouge Advocate
“Blackwell’s collection of 12 stories may be one of the best books of the year.” – The Clarion Ledger
“This, the first book of short stories by Kate Blackwell, a Winston-Salem native, is one of the finest collections I’ve read, and, in my work, I am privileged to read many. Blackwell’s wisdom and subtlety are evident even in the title. By telling us we won’t remember, she ensures that we do . . . .” – Anne Barnhill, Winston-Salem Journal
“. . . the kind of truth that fiction gets at best.” – Vicki Cheng, The Raleigh News & Observer
“Life, death, birth, marriage, divorce, travel, isolation—all of our rituals and even our secret selves are embodied in this insightful and graceful collection.” - Mary Garrett, The Advocate
“Depending on a particular story’s slant, the book’s title is a command or a consolation—or an amalgam. . . . Steeliness and grit arise from Blackwell’s skill at ferreting out what her characters would just as soon not remember.” - Kathleen Snodgrass, The Georgia Review
“Kate Blackwell has what Flannery O’Connor called ‘a talent for humanity.’ In each story, she looks at life with a direct gaze and writes in elegant, measured tones with beautiful, melancholy humor. The collection surely derives its honesty and power and music from the great Southern tradition—but in its sheer comprehension and passion, it is universal as well.” - Howard Norman, National Book Award finalist for The Bird Artist and Northern Lights
“Kate Blackwell is a wonderful and very perceptive writer who knows more about love, and more about loss, than most of us ever will. These stories about all sorts of Southern men and women are both funny and sad, and always subtly but deeply sympathetic.” - Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist for Foreign Affairs, author most recently of The Last Resort
“These are necessary stories, which often possess a quality of devastating clarity all too infrequent in short fiction. Each is a rare entree into the ordinary everyday world without the added special effects of all-consuming tragedy. This collection is prime proof that there is nothing, nothing like a collection of short stories to offer an almost Cubist perspective on the way women live.” - Cynthia Shearer, author of the novels Wonder Book of Air and The Celestial Jukebox
“You most definitely WILL remember this extraordinary collection. All of Blackwell’s finely crafted stories move as easily as an overheard conversation about what is too often hushed in the human heart.” - Robert Bausch, author of a story collection and nine novels, including Far as the Eye Can See and A Hole in the Earth
“In these remarkably intelligent and quirky stories Kate Blackwell sweeps the reader into a tableau as vivid as a Dutch painting, both startling and alive. These are harshly honest and generous stories embroidered with humor.” - Patricia Griffith, playwright and author of the recent novel Supporting the Sky
“Throughout this fine first collection, there is a fascinating tension between limpid prose and incisive truth. Kate Blackwell tends to deal with secrets—an unfulfilled desire, a denied knowledge, a hidden love. She writes with especial power and insight about the parts of themselves women give up—or bury—when they marry.” - Joyce Johnson, National Book Critics Circle Award winner for her memoir Minor Characters and author of the recent memoir Missing Men
“Author Kate Blackwell has a gift for shining a spotlight on the complexities of mundane people and places. In her debut work of fiction—a collection of short stories called You Won’t Remember This—she introduces her readers to the seemingly ordinary and gives ‘forgettable’ characters emotional depth and mystery.” - Frank Stasio, “The State of Things,” WUNC
“Blackwell (who is making her fiction debut in her mid- 60s) is a luminous writer, and I hope she has a whole drawer of manuscripts waiting to be published.” - Kevin Allman, Writing About Writing
Have you ever read a book you really loved and wanted to tell everyone you knew about it?
That’s what happened when I read Kate Blackwell’s collection of short stories - you won’t remember this.
With some short story collections, I often skip a few. Start them, and if I’m not engaged immediately, I move on. Not with this collection.
Here’s how engaged I was. The hardcover came out in 2007. At the time, I was going back and forth between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC. One day my train was delayed, then delayed again.
If you’ve ever been stuck in Baltimore’s Penn Station, you know that after you look at all the great architectural detail, there’s not a whole lot left to do. I always dreaded those days the trains were running late.
Except this one Saturday, I had Kate’s book with me. I was so engrossed in the stories, I wouldn’t have minded if the train never came.
I’ve picked it up often since then, and every time I get caught up in the stories. I love books like that.
Unfortunately, the publisher, Southern Methodist University Press is no longer in business.
The people there loved this book as much as I do. But even when they were up and running, they didn’t publish paperbacks.
So, like far too many excellent books, you won’t remember this, hasn’t been available to a wider audience.
Maybe you can imagine how delighted I am that Bacon Press Books will now be publishing you won’t remember this by Kate Blackwell in paperback and ebook. We’re aiming for May 1, 2015.
Not sure publishing gets any better than this - making great books available to new readers.
Coming next: Praise from reviewers about you won’t remember this.
And the new cover.
It's nice to know that in the middle of the long stretch between President's Day and Memorial Day, when winter seems endless, there are still things to celebrate. Like Read An EBook Week from March 1 through 7.
Never one to turn down any excuse for a celebration, Bacon Press Books is offering discounts on all of its titles.
It's a great time to pick up a copy.
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