"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
"Sutton's ten tales display an absolutely wild sense of humor, running the gamut from witty erudition to outright silliness. . . . Each story is made vivid by Sutton's fierce intelligence, captivating dialogue, and unique scenarios. . . . Fresh and funny stories."
"The pretext for these stories is to entertain; their subtext is to make readers think. Sutton accomplishes both."
—Glenn Hopp, Salem Press
"Companionship emerges in unexpected places for the characters of Sutton’s shining collection of ten short stories, a Flannery O’Connor Award-winning debut that brims with life and wit. . . . The unexpected unites the impressive range of voices in this delightful, imaginative book. Readers who've enjoyed Julie Hecht and Margot Livesey will relish the cool humor of Sutton's debut."
"Lose yourself in a sensorial field day as Barbara Sutton paints an intricate, picturesque vision of her character's world. Creep behind their eyes and find yourself in a Twilight Zone moment, where somehow you're vacuumed from your futon into the story, then, to your surprise, suddenly plucked from it (how did she do that?)."
"An extraordinary satisfaction results from encountering an author who writes in a way specific to one’s own time and place. The stories in Belmont resident Barbara Sutton’s fierce and funny debut collection, The Send-Away Girl, are of the present: the present time, this moment in the modern world, and the present place, Boston. Although her Flannery O’Connor Award-winning collection will certainly appeal to audiences outside Boston, readers in town are in for a particular delight. . . . There are moments when the prose just shines. Sutton finds an undeniable comedy in our darkest sorrows."
"In ‘Tra il Devoto et Profano’ and especially in the title story, [Barbara Sutton] evokes the lost urban world of Nathanael West, while in others, like ‘Risk Merchants,’ she wryly demonstrates how times—and fiction—have changed. . . . Sutton’s fiction is about impermanence and abandonment, and at her best, in a story like ‘Rabbit Punch,’ she enlivens these themes with a gutsy combination of pathos and personal terror."
—New York Times Book Review
“The Send-Away Girl reads like a dream that I never want to wake up from. It’s poetic and hilarious. Barbara Sutton has an unstoppable imagination and I found myself laughing out loud the deeper I got into her book’s hypnotically chaotic rhythm.”
“These bracingly offbeat stories by newcomer Barbara Sutton have hit the jackpot, winning the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Sutton indeed impresses with her obvious intelligence and her command of style, softened by quirky humor and a sense of compassion for people slipping through the cracks.”
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.
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