Department of English

Deb Unferth Publishes Book of Short Stories

Tue, March 28, 2017
Deb Unferth Publishes Book of Short Stories
Wait Till You See Me Dance was released March 21

Deb Unferth, Associate Professor in creative writing, has published her first collection of short fiction, out now through Graywolf Press. On Wednesday, March 29th there will be a book release party at Book People, with Professor Unferth in conversation with Elizabeth McCracken. 

From the publisher:

For more than ten years, Deb Olin Unferth has been publishing startlingly askew, wickedly comic, cutting-edge fiction in magazines such as Granta, Harper’sMagazineMcSweeney’sNOON, 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.


Here's what people are saying: 

“A stunning debut collection. . . . 39 poignant, sharp-edged stories that cut right to the bone of the human psyche with precision and grace. . . . Prickly dilemmas, physical and existential, abound in these allegorical stories, each terrifically mundane and told with an exquisite restraint that drolly captures the inherent hope of humanity. . . . Chock-full of emotional insight and comic verve, Unferth’s beguiling stories are not to be missed.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

“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
“Deb Olin Unferth’s Wait Till You See Me Dance delivers on the promise of surprise in its title: Thirty-nine tap-dance sharp, hilarious stories take up people with hearts askew and right them. Disgruntled mothers, daughters, adjunct professors, speak in a voice ‘with a tarp of sad earnestness’ so as to win over the reader every time.”—Christine Schutt, author of Prosperous Friends
“Deb Olin Unferth’s stories are wild, funny, and wonderful.”—Geoff Dyer
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