The Send-Away Girl

Stories by Barbara Sutton

Stories that capture the elusive, lyrical qualities of our most chance encounters


"Sutton knows how to convey those mysterious transitional moments when the familiar grows suddenly strange. These tightly crafted, tough and true stories show characters 'waiting for fries at the Beckettian drive-through,' struggling with the inescapable strains of daily life, here presented by a writer who knows how to deliver the goods."
—Askold Melnyczuk, author of Ambassador of the Dead

"From the opening pages of Barbara Sutton's collection I had the exhilarating sense of being in the presence of a remarkable new voice: wicked, pungent, exquisitely intelligent, wildly humorous. And each successive story only served to deepen my admiration for this writer's originality and for her empathy with a startlingly wide range of characters: old and young, drunk and sober, male and female, naive and cynical. The Send-Away Girl is a splendidly accomplished debut."
—Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture

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Barbara Sutton's quirky debut collection tracks the emotional journeys of characters struggling to find harmonious relationships with the people they are expected to love and be loved by. All too often, for Sutton's characters, such supposedly sacred relationships disappoint. In the end, it is not the loved ones who are loved, but the strangers met through chance encounters—the interim mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, husbands and wives. Such unlikely friendships weave their way through Sutton's stories and create sometimes funny and sometimes tragic reflections on the accidental and often fleeting nature of love.

Through Sutton's vibrant voices we meet a memorable and varied cast of characters, all suffering the same fate. From the adolescent Marta, who finds a substitute for her absent mother and father in her grandmother's improbable and eccentric relationship with the parish priest, to the emotionally unstable, unemployed Virginia Woolf scholar who finds kinship with a belligerent, equally unstable, nine-year-old boy, Sutton delivers authentic scenes of severe isolation coupled with brief moments of resplendent harmony. It is these transitory moments, these glimpses into the elusive world of light, that manage to sustain our hope.

Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

Page count: 216 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $24.95

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Barbara Sutton's stories have appeared in the Missouri Review, Antioch Review, Agni, and other literary journals.