Verge: Stories (Hardcover)
February 2020 Indie Next List
“A powerful and visceral collection from one of today’s most unique voices that will take you out of your comfort zone. Yuknavitch focuses on the subject of the body: bodies trying to find comfort, bodies trying to become whole, bodies destroyed, bodies as an object, how they are connected to one another, how they can be broken, and how much they are worth. To dive into this collection is to let a cinderblock tied to your leg drag you down into unknown watery depths and instead of trying to loosen the knot, holding tight and letting the waters consume you.”
— Anthony Piacentini, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Bustle and Lit Hub
A fiercely empathetic group portrait of the marginalized and outcast in moments of crisis, from one of the most galvanizing voices in American fiction.
Lidia Yuknavitch is a writer of rare insight into the jagged boundaries between pain and survival. Her characters are scarred by the unchecked hungers of others and themselves, yet determined to find salvation within lives that can feel beyond their control. In novels such as The Small Backs of Children and The Book of Joan, she has captivated readers with stories of visceral power. Now, in Verge, she offers a shard-sharp mosaic portrait of human resilience on the margins.
The landscape of Verge is peopled with characters who are innocent and imperfect, wise and endangered: an eight-year-old black-market medical courier, a restless lover haunted by memories of his mother, a teenage girl gazing out her attic window at a nearby prison, all of them wounded but grasping toward transcendence. Clear-eyed yet inspiring, Verge challenges us with moments of uncomfortable truth, even as it urges us to place our faith not in the flimsy guardrails of society but in the memories held—and told—by our own individual bodies.
About the Author
Lidia Yuknavitch is the nationally bestselling author of the novels The Book of Joan, The Small Backs of Children, and Dora: A Headcase, and of the memoir The Chronology of Water. She is the recipient of two Oregon Book Awards and has been a finalist for the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize and the PEN Center USA Creative Nonfiction Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Praise for Verge:
“The powers of her prose [are] on full, incandescent display. . . . The damaged beauty of these misfits keeps the reader leaning in. ” —Nicholas Mancusi, TIME
“Children harvest organs, janitors build magical worlds, and mourning lovers drive to destinations unknown in this searing, precise collection of short stories.” —Vogue
"Spellbinding." —O: The Oprah Magazine
“Bracing [and] profound.” —Entertainment Weekly
“At several points while reading Verge, I found myself curled into a ball, my fingers gripping the pages so tightly they almost tore the paper. It was as if the words had crawled off the page and under my skin.” —Cornelia Channing, The Paris Review
“Full of suspense . . . Young or old, male or female, the characters in Verge will shock and impress themselves onto the reader.” —LitHub
“Yuknavitch’s writing is as sharp as ever and her empathetic takes on the grief, trauma, and beauty of marginalized souls are as precise as they are gripping. This is a book that lingers.” —Refinery29
“This book is a gem. . . . A brilliant collection of twenty stories that contain as much compassion as suffering . . . In Yuknavitch’s hands, words are both swords and feathers. . . . She writes with a sensibility that is both blunt and empathic, as if to open the reader’s heart and make it bleed.” —Ms. Magazine
“Diverse and impactful, unlike some collections, where only a few stories shine . . . Verge boldly asks some pressing yet unspoken questions, such as: How is it that Americans can say anything with a straight face? Does it hurt more to keep the secrets or tell them? It also forces us to acknowledge—and even embrace—the unsettling answers.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Yuknavitch is one of the most celebrated contemporary writers. [Now she] returns with a collection of short stories that embody her unique blend of the unsettling and the delightful.” —Electric Literature
“Dynamite. . . . I don’t know of any other writer who can render the brutality of life with such honesty and dazzle. . . . That Lidia Yuknavitch can create such beauty out of the tragedy of contemporary life is testament to her skill as an artist. Verge is volatile and vital, and it hits where it hurts, in the most oddly pleasurable way.” —Lambda Literary
“Lidia Yuknavitch displays the same gift for exploring the borderland between art, sex, and trauma that readers have come to expect . . . . [turning] her powers toward life on the margins.” —The Millions
“Yuknavitch writes with rare empathy about the repercussions of grief, loss and dislocation." —Jane Ciabattari, BBC Culture
“Disturbing and delightful all at once.” —BookRiot
“With the publication of Verge, Yuknavitch’s writing flies into hyperspace. . . . [Verge is] an act of courage and urgency. The book is historically specific, yet ultimately timeless.” —The Brooklyn Rail
“The stories in Verge swim with ravishing sentences, and swimming is an apt metaphor because Yuknavitch’s long and multifaceted history with swimming shows up all over her writing. It’s there in water imagery, it’s there in characters who endure, it’s there in the literal text that seems like it’s moving and breathing.” —Cascadia
“Characters who are often pushed to the fringes of literary fiction are given voice through Yuknavitch’s raw prose, resulting in a collection that feels equal parts urgent and soothing." —The Adroit Journal
“Brilliant. . . . Consistently incisive, with sharp sentences and a barreling pace. . . . This riveting collection invites readers to see women whose points of view are typically ignored.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Insistently visceral . . . These howls from the throats of women, queer characters, the impoverished, and the addicted remind us of the beauty and pain of our shared humanity. Gutsy stories from one of our most fearless writers.” —Kirkus Reviews
“In Verge, characters find their meaning and faith in their own bodies, grounded in physicality and anatomy, pain and desire. These stories are daring, provoking, and incendiary.” —Booklist (starred review)
“A vertiginous and revelatory book whose characters—sometimes in desperate situations, and sometimes, finally, in a place of safety—have much to say about the world that we live in now. Lidia Yuknavitch is astonishing.”
“Verge is a wonderful, challenging book. I know these people. I know their dilemmas, and where I don't recognize them, I believe them. The passion Lidia Yuknavitch brings to the page is astounding. I am caught up, shaken up, and now and then simply delighted. ‘Listen to this,’ I call out to friends, and then, minutes later: ‘No, wait, listen to this!’"
“I can’t remember the last time I was as captivated by a collection as I am by Verge. The grace implicit in these stories is rare, and the way the book brings us to the verge of the unthinkable, and then leaves us to ponder our complicity, is astonishing.”
“Verge is a bouquet of dynamite: explosive, deadly, and spectacularly beautiful. These stories captivated me like modern fairy tales, and like those dark lessons they showed me how resilience is forged through survival, beauty through brokenness, joy by fire. The women who occupy them are my favorite kinds of heroines: as flawed as they are furious, as bold as they are tender. I won't soon forget them."
“Verge is dangerous. Lidia Yuknavitch, through multiple narratives, explores human endurance with brilliance and lightning power. She thunders life to each page. I am forever a fan.”
—Terese Marie Mailhot
“Lidia Yuknavitch is a life-giving sea creature, an anemone, opening and closing, showing us our beauty and dis-ease. These twenty breath-catching stories come from the margins, that place we all live now. Her work is a necessity, all the ways she forgives us, and urges us on.”