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I Was Trying to Describe What it Feels Like

Cover of I Was Trying to Describe What it Feels Like

I Was Trying to Describe What it Feels Like

New and Selected Stories

Noy Holland is one of America's great writers, and each of her previous collections has been greeted with wide acclaim. Critics have praised her exquisite prose, her exuberant characters, and the exhilarating tension of her tales.
Following the wonderful reception of her first novel, Bird, which Counterpoint published last year, we are proud to offer a gathering of 48 stories, 17 from her previous collections and 25 never before published in book form.

Noy Holland is one of America's great writers, and each of her previous collections has been greeted with wide acclaim. Critics have praised her exquisite prose, her exuberant characters, and the exhilarating tension of her tales.
Following the wonderful reception of her first novel, Bird, which Counterpoint published last year, we are proud to offer a gathering of 48 stories, 17 from her previous collections and 25 never before published in book form.

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Reviews-
  • New York Times

    "These new and selected stories testify to the fact that there are still fine short story writers out there, doing the hard job of serious literary production in our age of tweets and memes...Holland's language is challenging, elliptical, bristling with sensations and resounding with the interior lives of complicated, recognizable people...There are distant echoes here of Ian McEwan's macabre, early work, Shirley Jackson's demonic families and even the apocalyptic landscapes of Cormac McCarthy. But Holland is a much different writer still, entangling her readers in experience-rich narratives about the various ways people try to love one another, live their lives in hard places and, with the best words they can manage, "describe what it feels like."

  • The New York Times Book Review "After three widely praised story collections, Noy Holland's first novel, Bird, is a whirling and feverish illustration of how much time can be contained in the present moment. A master of the domestic, Holland takes us again into that sphere: into the life of Bird, a stay-at-home mother of two children, as she moves through the events of a single day.... It is here, in Holland's subtly radiant ¬details -- the odd syntax, the drawing's marriage of violence and love -- that Bird shines brightest, since they so aptly mirror what's happening beneath the domestic surface... Fans of Holland's prose will find much to love in Bird. The writing is hallucinatory, musical and intimate. It pulls you through, like the wind that blows through Bird's life, like time rushing past us, unable to be held. There's a sense that Holland's sentences are alive, and that life starts here -- with the stories we tell ourselves."
  • Los Angeles Times Bird is a slim novel, beautifully constructed and emotionally potent, without a word out of place. The book's premise is simple but powerful... But Bird's story is not the one about the dissatisfied housewife, the resentful mother -- instead it's a meditation on memory and nested selves, of the way in which these multitudes are contained in a person's body... The narrative slips easily between past and present in a way that feels organic and faithful to the experience of remembering. The result is both recognizable and wonderfully surreal... Her prose is poetic, lucid and haunting."
  • Padgett Powell "If you could breed a writer out of Faulkner by John Hawkes, and out it in a female frame, you might have Noy Holland."
  • John Edgar Wideman "Holland's scrupulousness and respect for the language keep this text alive and kicking...a book to be read slowly and thoughtfully shared."
  • William Gass "Holland's aims are ambitious, her tone rigfht, her diction masterful, and she spells her stories out in bites of beautiful lyrical but bitter prose and with an ardent grimness of eye that is both unsettling and intensely satisfying."
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I Was Trying to Describe What it Feels Like
I Was Trying to Describe What it Feels Like
New and Selected Stories
Noy Holland
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