Recapture (Paperback)

By Erica Olsen

Torrey House Press, 9781937226053, 165pp.

Publication Date: October 16, 2012

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The Utah Canyons WildMall gives tourists exactly what they want. An archivist preserves a rare map of a vanished Lake Tahoe. The Grand Canyon can only be visited in replica form. These stories--lyrical, deadpan, surreal--blur the line between the natural world and the world we make.

A Library Journal Best Short Story Collection of the Year

Praise for Recapture

"Unsentimental stories that tell us what the American West looks like now and what we've lost; the Grand Canyon, for instance, can be seen only in replica after environmental catastrophe."

"Recapture is a living, breathing museum of natural wonders. With writing as spare as the landscape she evokes, Olsen wades through the detritus of the human experience and finds clarity there, and some magic, too."

"Recapture is...a gem, a small collection of stories that is a pleasure to read and consider."

"Olsen's deft use of language creates stories that exude not only loneliness and longing, but also dark humor."

"These are sexy stories that are never explicit, knowing exactly which details are necessary for their effect and describing no more."

"True to its name, Recapture grasps after lost loves, fading histories, and shifting landscapes to bring us an expertly curated series of human exhibits in an expansive, outdoor museum."

"Erica Olsen gives us the dream life of the Southwest in this striking collection, a landscape told in language as spare and pungent and exacting as the desert itself. A swift and lovely debut from a writer of real gifts."
--KEVIN CANTY, author of Where the Money Went

"These sly, heartbreaking stories capture the modern West, where the past is ever-present and the future is already here."
--ALISON BAKER, author of How I Came West, and Why I Stayed

"Beneath their polished surfaces, Erica Olsen's stories are subversive, sometimes darkly funny, and always disquieting. This accomplished writer really knows her way through the tricky zone between truth and falsehood where art is made."
--SUSAN LOWELL HUMPHREYS, author of Ganado Red

"A sharp, wise new voice from the American West, Erica Olsen is the real thing. As wild as David Foster Wallace or George Saunders and as tender as James Salter or Alice Munro, Olsen's stories are hilarious, painful, and achingly lovely."
--AMANDA EYRE WARD, author of Close Your Eyes

"Like all good narratives, Erica Olsen's "Grand Canyon II" suggests great consequence. The past is another country. The task of memory is impossible. No one exists and nothing ever happened. But somewhere in your brain, a beautiful lie is being spun..."
--SARAH MANGUSO, author of The Guardians

"Recapture is like a lost map of the backcountry, detailing the forgotten places where secrets shove up through the dust, pieces of lives demanding to be made whole. The territory is endlessly illuminating and constantly surprising, revealing a master storyteller at work."
--KIM TODD, author of Tinkering with Eden: A Natural History of Exotic Species in America

About the Author

Erica Olsen lives in Dolores, Colorado near the Four Corners area, where she does archives and curation work for archaeology museums. Her stories and essays have appeared in ZYZZYVA, High Country News, High Desert Journal, and other magazines. A graduate of Stanford, Harvard, and the University of Montana MFA program, she has also been a Djerassi Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin.