Endlessly inventive and wonderfully deadpan, Unferth’s new book is one of the best story collections in recent memory. The stories within are brief, but the writing explodes off the page with an energy you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Unferth’s ability to make a story about sickly turtles as heart-shattering as one about a man forced to live in total darkness for twelve weeks is proof enough that her range is endless and her talent huge. While the stories often explore the harshest aspects of life, the most impressive thing about the collection is how they somehow bend toward the hopeful among all the wreckage. In each story Unferth makes whole worlds out of the mundane, and it is truly something to behold.— From Donovan Recommends
"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
For more than ten years, Deb Olin Unferth has been publishing startlingly askew, wickedly comic, cutting-edge fiction in magazines such as Granta, Harper's Magazine, McSweeney's, NOON, 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.