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Wild Failure: Stories (Paperback)

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A dazzling debut collection of ten powerful, feminist, and queer short stories from bestselling author Zoe Whittall

“Absorbing and wrenchingly intimate, with a rare balance of wit and tenderness.”—Jenny Fran Davis, author of Dykette

In Wild Failure, characters encounter feelings of shame, desire, attachment, and disconnection as they find themselves navigating their way through bad decisions, unusual situations, and fraught relationships.

In “Oh, El,” a dominant woman can’t stop herself from toying with the tender heart of her co-worker. The title story, “Wild Failure,” is a doomed love story between an agoraphobic and a wilderness hiker. In “Half-Pipe,” a teen girl’s heterosexual ambivalence results in chaos at a skate park. A group of idealistic roommates find themselves the subject of a true crime podcast in “Murder at the Elm Street Collective House.” In “The Sex Castle Lunch Buffet,” a woman reflects on her brief stint at a nineties strip club after she learns of the death of a former client.

Wild Failure is replete with Whittall’s perceptive humor and acute insights into human nature. It’s also a dynamic and vibrant collection of poetic fiction that contend with the meaning of desire in a world that devalues femininity and queerness.

About the Author

Zoe Whittall is the author of five novels, including the recent bestseller The Fake, which was longlisted for the Toronto Book Award. The New York Times called her fourth novel, The Spectacular, a “highly readable testament to the strength of the maternal bond.” Her third novel, The Best Kind of People, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her second novel, Holding Still for as Long as Possible, won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association’s Stonewall Honor Book. Her debut novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, won the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Prize. She is also a Canadian Screen Award–winning TV writer. She lives in Prince Edward County.

Praise For…

“Phenomenal . . . Whittall compresses entire worlds into the most alive of sentences.”—Claudia Dey, author of Daughter

“These beautiful stories of longing and connection vibrate with emotional honesty and sharp detail. . . . A dirty, tender collection.”—Michelle Tea, author of Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My (In)fertility

“Rigorously humane, funny, and forgiving—you know these characters well.”—Donovan Woods, musician

“How do I describe this short story collection that distracted me from my cooking and almost caused me to burn my dinner? It’s like Zoe Whittall cut these slice-of-life stories with a serrated knife whose blade is sharp enough that we see an expert storyteller in her element and dull enough that the wounds of her characters hurt so good.”—Catherine Hernandez, author of Scarborough

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593499917
ISBN-10: 0593499913
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: August 20th, 2024
Pages: 176
Language: English