kelcey parker ervick
"These are fantastical, ingenious, deeply imagined and felt stories about the homes, families, jobs, lives that we dream about, that we disappoint and are disappointed by in equal measure. In Parker's hands, our dead ends become something other than dead ends, something hopeful and beautiful and mysterious. Art, in other words."
- Brock Clarke
author of The Happiest People on Earth
EXCERPTS OF STORIES IN THE COLLECTION
"LENT": A mother of three gives up her family for Lent.
I am giving you up, she told her family. For Lent.
What was hers anymore that she could give up? That no one else could use without permission, take without asking, even wear, now that the oldest was a teen and her size? Answer: the cat. The found feral cat from college, from before all of them and during all of them, tucked into the right angle of her armpit every night. But after they started arriving every couple of years, the cat (may she rest in peace) was no longer her greatest joy. They were.
You are my greatest joy, she said. And so, she addressed the question marks around the dinner table, you see what a sacrifice this is.
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"MERMAIDS": Mermaid wishes at a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party.
The birthday girl begins her day with a question: “Do wishes really come true?” She is using a plastic knife to spread blue icing along one side of her cake.
The birthday girl’s mother, at work on the other side of the cake, wonders why she asks.
Because the birthday girl doesn’t think they do. For she has wished upon stars and eyelashes and last year’s birthday candles and pennies in the fountain, and she has not told anyone (except for her doll, Annabelle, and her unicorn, Chloe) her wish—it is always the same one—and it still has not come true.
“Do they?” she asks again, pausing from her work.
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In Kelcey Parker’s tales of twisted domesticity, a woman gives her family up for Lent; a mother finds redemption at Chuck E. Cheese; a former best-friend-forever wreaks baby shower havoc; a bride swallows a housefly at the altar; and a suburbanite’s obsession with memory books puts her family in jeopardy. These stories offer a contemporary and dryly funny view of marriage, parenting and loss.
Fans of Lorrie Moore and Aimee Bender will find kinship in Parker’s wit, her generosity of spirit and the confidence of her voice. This debut collection marks the appearance of a writer with a blunt and beautiful perspective on family, home, and an evolving American subculture.
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