All the Names They Used for God (Hardcover)

Stories

By Anjali Sachdeva

Spiegel & Grau, 9780399593000, 272pp.

Publication Date: February 20, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (2/19/2018)
Paperback (6/18/2019)

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

“One of the best collections I’ve ever read. Every single story is a standout.”—Roxane Gay

WINNER OF THE CHAUTAUQUA PRIZE • LONGLISTED FOR THE STORY PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • Refinery29 BookRiot


“Fuses science, myth, and imagination into a dark and gorgeous series of questions about our current predicaments.”­—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

A dystopian tale about genetically modified septuplets who are struck by a mysterious illness; a love story about a man bewitched by a mermaid; a stirring imagining of the lives of Nigerian schoolgirls in the aftermath of a Boko Haram kidnapping. The stories in All the Names They Used for God break down genre barriers—from science fiction to American Gothic to magical realism to horror—and are united by each character’s brutal struggle with fate. Like many of us, the characters in this collection are in pursuit of the sublime. Along the way, they must navigate the borderland between salvation and destruction.

NAMED A MUST-READ BOOK BY Harper’s Bazaar • Entertainment Weekly • AM New York Reading Women AND A TOP READ BY Elle • Fast Company • The Christian Science Monitor • Bustle • Shondaland • Popsugar • Refinery29  • Bookish • Newsday • The Millions • Asian American Writers’ Workshop • HelloGiggles

“Strange and wonderful . . . delightfully unexpected.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Completing one [story] is like having lived an entire life, and then being born, breathless, into another.”—Carmen Maria Machado

“Captivating.”—NPR

“Gripping.”Los Angeles Review of Books

“[A] remarkable debut . . . Sachdeva is seemingly fearless and her talent limitless.”AM New York 

“This phenomenal debut short-story collection is filled with stories that bring the otherworldly to life and examine the strangeness of humanity.”Bustle 

“So rich they read like dreams . . . They are enormous stories, not in length but in ambition, each an entirely new, unsparing world. Beautiful, draining—and entirely unforgettable.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


About the Author

Anjali Sachdeva’s fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, The Yale Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught writing at the University of Iowa, Augustana College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh. She also worked for six years at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she was director of educational programs. She has hiked through the backcountry of Canada, Iceland, Kenya, Mexico, and the United States, and spent much of her childhood reading fantasy novels and waiting to be whisked away to an alternate universe. Instead, she lives in Pittsburgh, which is pretty wonderful as far as places in this universe go. This is her first book.


Praise For All the Names They Used for God: Stories

“What an outstanding short story collection. I knew nothing about this book going in and was thrilled by each story. There is so much range here, and there is a nice fabulist edge to nearly all the stories. The writer wields so much confidence and control in her prose and, my goodness, what imagination, what passion there is in this work. From one story to the next I felt like the writer knows everything about everything.”—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger

Fuses science, myth, and imagination into a dark and gorgeous series of questions about our current predicaments.”—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

“Delightfully unexpected . . . The strange and wonderful stories that make up [Anjali] Sachdeva’s debut begin on this side of reality and slip to the other—often so gracefully, and with such a precise rendering of the fantastical, that we become inadvertent believers. ‘The World by Night’ plunges us into a cave beneath a prairie, where Sadie, an abandoned albino bride, finds herself seduced by a dark and glittering world populated by elusive creatures like herself. ‘Glass-Lung’ begins with a furnace accident in a Pennsylvania steel mill; its only survivor clings to life with the help of his eight-year-old daughter, who, in the kind of surprising shift typical of these stories, ends up working in a museum as the secretary to an archaeologist, then serving as the archaeologist’s assistant on a search for an Egyptian tomb. . . . The brilliance of these stories—beyond the cool, precise artistry of their prose—is their embrace of both the known and the unknown, in a combination that feels truly original.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Terrific . . . [Anjali] Sachdeva’s book, a debut, is notable for its exuberant variety. . . . The range of her gifts is best seen in the title story, about two young women who are forced to become child brides to Islamists but gradually turn the tables on their captors through the practice of mind control. . . . The story’s delicate sadness mingles beautifully with the boldness of its conception.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Each of these stories is a perfect diorama: scrupulously assembled, complex, unsettling. Completing one is like having lived an entire life, and then being born, breathless, into another.”—Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

“Emotionally scorching . . . artfully deployed . . . a wide-ranging collection of stories that are a blend of fact and fiction, seamlessly integrating magical realism and the firmly earthbound . . . a strong collection from start to finish.”—BookPage

“[A] striking debut short story collection . . . enchanting and mesmerizing . . . Sachdeva’s writing is carefully textured and nuanced. . . . Reminiscent of Aimee Bender’s and Kelly Link’s excellent speculative works.”PopMatters

“Sachdeva’s stories almost seem to revel in their diversity; the book has surprises on virtually every page and touches on a host of philosophical and technological questions. . . . Science fiction has always been at its strongest when working exactly this kind of combination, and Sachdeva’s first attempts at it are remarkable.”The Christian Science Monitor


Coverage from NPR