The Wrong Heaven (Paperback)

By Amy Bonnaffons

Back Bay Books, 9780316516181, 272pp.

Publication Date: January 14, 2020

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (7/17/2018)

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

Including the story "Horse," as heard on This American Life.

Blurring the line between reality and fantasy, Amy Bonnaffons's "outstanding, exciting" (Publishers Weekly) debut story collection plumbs the mysteries of female desire.

In the darkly magical realm of The Wrong Heaven, inanimate objects come to life, supernatural beings move among humans, and conflicted female characters seek answers to their sexual and spiritual dilemmas in all the wrong places. In "Horse," a woman considers transforming herself into an animal through a series of injections reminiscent of IVF. In "The Cleas," a young babysitter struggles to reconcile her feminist ideals with her confounding urges, while the dying protagonist of "Black Stones" finds herself strangely attracted to the angel of death. As provocative as they are deeply affecting, these stories reckon with the inescapable confusion of living in a mortal body, laying bare the heart of our deepest longings while teasing out new possibilities for what fiction can do.





About the Author

Amy Bonnaffons' work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Kenyon Review, among other places, and has been read on This American Life. She is a founding editor of 7x7.la, an online journal that publishes collaborations between writers and visual artists. She holds an MFA from NYU and currently lives in Athens, GA, where she is pursuing a PhD at the University of Georgia.


Praise For The Wrong Heaven

"Incredibly
fun to read but also full of these frank and wise observations that stuck in my
head long after."— Aimee Bender, New York Times bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

"In her amazing, wildly inventive collection, Amy Bonnaffons writes about transformation, each story further complicating the world as we know it. With a style that blends humor and sincerity in such strange, perfect ratios, Bonnaffons reveals the mysteries inside of us, just waiting to make themselves known. The Wrong Heaven, so wondrous, will alter you in all the necessary ways."—Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang and Perfect Little World


"Amy Bonnaffons is the real deal. She's a woman of
impossible juxtapositions. Funny and wise, thrilling and disciplined,
strange and masterful. Do yourself a favor and read this: you'll be surprised
where you find yourself, but you'll never feel lost."—Darin Strauss, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Chang and Eng and Half a Life

"Bright and lively... It's in the nonmagical everyday world that Bonnaffons
reveals some magic of her own."—New York Times

"God, these stories. I wanted to stop people on the street. I know contemporary writers who can lacerate, and I know others who are funny, and I even know some who can pull off pathos. But I don't know any who can do all three at once -- with mastery, mischief, and meaning -- like Amy Bonnaffons. She gives you a key to that secret room where, for a dear second, everything stops moving so quickly and you get a glimpse of the truth."—Boris Fishman, author of Don't Let Me Baby Do Rodeo


"Like the best storytelling, The Wrong Heaven
feels like a gift - warm, intimate, and very, very funny. The characters are
messy and vibrant and gloriously flawed, and their transformations are
absolutely enthralling. This energizing collection will stay with me - happily
so - for a long time. Read it."—Kayla Rae Whitaker, author of The Animators

"These
stories are eerie, enthralling, and hilarious. Women grow hooves, carve dolls
who talk, have sex (or almost) with angels. Bonnaffons is a masterful
chronicler of female desire and its discontents."—Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks

"In
her first collection, Bonnaffons dazzles and cuts with 10 hilarious and
cathartic short stories. Though the pieces vary in tone and format, they uniformly
focus on a complex female protagonist. The author employs a modern magical
realism, absurd, nihilistic, and playful all at once. Resonant of Alissa
Nutting's novels and George Saunders' Pastoralia (2000), Bonnaffons'
first collection presents a powerful and fresh new voice."—Booklist

"At once goofy, poignant, and edged with the fantastic, the stories in Bonnaffons's
debut collection initially surprise, then turn into one long, delicious rush."—Library Journal, Starred Review

"In the stories of her imaginative and unsettling debut,
Bonnaffons creates worlds much like ours, except for the parts that are
askew...when Bonnaffons hits the sweet spot between the emotional and physical
realities of this world and the odd, askew thing that lets readers see them,
the collection is at its best. This is an outstanding, exciting debut."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Amy Bonnaffons surprises her readers with the truth. Whether
her characters are toasting marshmallows over a flaming plastic Jesus, finding
freedom in the form of a horse, or lusting after the Angel of Death, their
particular lonelinesses and their struggles with their uncooperative selves are
always moving and always grant us profound insight into what it is to be human
in the twenty-first century. There are many stories in this brilliantly
inventive collection that I will never forget, and that I will read again and again
over the course of my life."—Stephen O'Connor, author of Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings

"These
stories perfectly balance humor, strangeness, and keen insights into
contemporary life. And by 'balance' I mean they are unbalanced in just the right
way, always surprising, inventive, and deeply moving."—Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes, author of The Sleeping World

"Amy Bonnaffons has upgraded magic realism for
the modern age. Reminiscent of Kelly Link, Karen Russell, and Chris Adrian, these
stories about friendships, marriages, sexuality, and spirituality, beg to be
read with a pen for the purpose of constant underlining-for, seen through
Bonnaffons' slyly humorous and sharp sensibility, even the most bizarre,
heartbreaking, and mundane moments appear precious, interesting, and worth
living."—Kseniya Melnik, author of Snow in May

"Amy Bonnaffons' work is a thing of beauty. No language is adequate to
distill her tenable, palpable, fleshy characterizations, her absorbing
settings, her startling concepts, her crystalline language, her subtle but
inexorable action that stops your own world and funnels you down into a world
of her creation."—Reginald McKnight, author of White Boys

"Channeling
the fabulism of Karen Russell, these offbeat tales are both funny and profound."—O, The Oprah Magazine