Brides in the Sky (Paperback)

Stories and a Novella

By Cary Holladay

Swallow Press, 9780804012041, 182pp.

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (1/22/2019)

List Price: 18.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Each of the crystalline worlds Cary Holladay brings us in the short stories and novella that make up Brides in the Sky has sisterhood, in all its urgency and peril, at its heart. In the title story, two women in 1850s Virginia marry brothers who promptly uproot them to follow the Oregon Trail west, until an unexpected shift of allegiance separates the sisters forever. Elsewhere in the book, a young boy’s kidnapping ignites tensions in a sorority house; frontier figure Cynthia Ann Parker struggles upon her return to her birth community from the Comanche people with whom she’s lived a full life; and in a metafictional twist, a gothic tale resonates in the present. In the novella, “A Thousand Stings,” three sisters come of age in the 1960s over a long summer of small-town scandal and universal stakes. These are just some of the lives, shaped by migrations, yearning, and the long shadows of myth, that Holladay creates. She crafts them with subtle humor, a stunning sense of place, and an unerring eye for character.

About the Author

Cary Holladay has published seven volumes of fiction, including The Quick-Change Artist,Horse People: Stories, and The Deer in the Mirror. Her stories and essays have appeared in Ecotone, Epoch, Georgia Review, Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Oxford American, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Southern Review, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other journals. Her story “Merry-Go-Sorry” was selected by Stephen King for an O. Henry award. She teaches at the University of Memphis.

Praise For Brides in the Sky: Stories and a Novella

“In unsentimental but intimate detail, a collection of stories peels back stereotypes about the lives of women in the past.…In spare but evocative prose, Holladay skillfully and subtly re-creates those earlier times while making clear their parallels to the present.…Women and girls often overlooked by history are given compelling voices in this collection.”—Kirkus Reviews

“I devoured (Brides in the Sky) and only wished it were longer. Discovering Cary Holladay is the best thing that happened to me during my many months of reading for this chronicle. Her stories take you in with vivid characters, compelling plots, humor and insight.”—Hudson Review

“…[Imagines] the lives of women who participated, unnamed, in so much of American history.…Backed by a beautiful sense of place.”—Garden & Gun

Brides in the Sky contributes beautifully to [Holladay‘s] body of work, its stories brimming with vibrant life, nuanced characters, and plots fueled by surprising turns.…Brides in the Sky also delivers when it comes to sheer entertainment.”—Chapter 16

“[The title story] does that great thing that [Alice Munro’s work] does where it travels these great distances of geography and time, and you never feel like you’re missing anything.…The amount of emotion that Cary Holladay is able to put in three sentences, it just feels like someone is punching you right in the heart.”—Nick White, author of Sweet and Low, on All Sides Weekend