In her debut collection, Emily W. Pease is at work redefining the Southern short story. Let Me Out Here explores the underbellies and strange desires of our neighbors, our loved ones, ourselves. Read More
In her debut collection, Emily W. Pease is at work redefining the Southern short story. Let Me Out Here explores the underbellies and strange desires of our neighbors, our loved ones, ourselves. A co-ed takes up with a mysterious cab driver who’s been calling every night on her dormitory’s hall phone; a family isolated by their faith hikes to a waterfall in search of healing; a mother sets her balcony on fire after an awkward family dinner; a woman befriends the snakes her preacher boyfriend keeps in their shed. This revealing collection offers a deep empathy for people doing the best they can, despite themselves.
Spread over varied landscapes of the South and offering surprising moments of raw revelation, the characters here find themselves at crossroads or alone on an empty street at night. With Let Me Out Here, Pease joins the ranks of Mary Gaitskill, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Kelly Link, and adds to their tradition a deft, singular style and a voice as darkly funny as it is exacting.
Let Me Out Here is the 2018 winner of the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize.
"Pease’s 16 tales together offer piercing explorations of her characters’ psyches and the unpredictable ways they cope with their doubts, circumstances, and, ultimately, lack of control." —Booklist
"Emily Pease makes the world new again. Arresting, fierce and unforgettable, her stories make you look at the world around you in a different light. Let Me Out Here is a terrific collection." —Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl
"Let Me Out Here is an extraordinary collection of hidden moments and midnight roads, tales of characters held captive by their own stories, following their own leads past points of no return, far beyond the trail’s end. Pease's confidence gives this collection a driving intimacy, a deft and crafted boldness, the kinds of stories told from the passenger seat of an idling car to a stranger standing uncertain on the sidewalk. I’ll follow Pease wherever she’s going." —Amelia Gray, author of Isadora and Gutshot
"These are gorgeous and haunting stories. In Let Me Out Here, Emily Pease has given us a collection that is both urgent and timeless. She’s a sublime writer, and her fiction is shot through with grace and beauty and the gravity of hard-won emotion." —–Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This
"The stories in Let Me Out Here deserve to be overlarded with glowing adjectives, to be heralded as luminous, soulful, piercing, spirited, and wise. Pease has managed a rare feat (with her debut no less): she's charted a new constellation out of the ancient human pole stars of love, desire, family, faith, and fear. She at once manages to achieve the sharp-elbowed intimacy of Grace Paley and the formal restraint of Tobias Wolff's best work. These stories have all the sweetness and bite of spiked sun tea and should be indulged likewise, both recklessly and responsibly." —Cheston Knapp, author of Up Up, Down Down and Managing Editor, Tin House
"Like all writers typing for keeps, Ms. Pease brings to the page the intelligence to know what matters and great empathy for those beleaguered by what matters. Hers is a style as deft as it is nuanced, her touch as light as it is sharp. She's not merely the newest scribbler in Storytown; she is the sly one on the second floor of the big house on the corner of Main and First, studying the to and fro down below and telling the tales that angels must." —Lee K. Abbott, contest judge, author of All Things, All at Once
"The feeling of living on the edge of a breaking point permeates these 16 rich, finely crafted stories. Pease's debut collection is precise in its wording and raw and complex in its subject matter. Her characters are all poised at a precipice, though some realize this more than others, and are often surprised at how stark and ordinary the world is after a defining moment. Pease's prose demands attention and refuses to let readers avert their gazes from the near-constant sense of approaching disaster, a steady thrum of quiet doom. And yet, each story is all the more enticing because the humanity of the characters is not overshadowed by plot. A compelling examination of what it means to survive when thriving seems to be an option only for other people." —Kirkus Reviews