She Is Haunted
a collection of stories by
* Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, Shortlist
* 2022 Stella Prize, Longlist
* 2022 Barbara Jefferis Award, "Highly Commended"
"A Best Book of the Year" —The Guardian
"A Most Anticipated book of 2022" —Entertainment Weekly
With an unforgettable voice and exuberant wit, She Is Haunted is a masterful debut exploring issues of identity, connection, and loss, told with remarkable grace and assurance by Chinese/American/Australian author, Paige Clark.
In stories charged by the complexities of mother-daughter relationships, grief, exes, and the profundities of friendship, She Is Haunted features injured ballerinas, cloned dogs, and competitive call centers in settings as far ranging as future and present Australia, New York City’s Chinatown, and suburban California. A mother cuts her daughter’s hair because her own hair begins falling out; a woman attempts to physically transform into her dead husband so that she does not have to grieve; a woman undergoes brain surgery in order to live more comfortably in extreme temperatures.
Braiding the real and the surreal, both playfully witty and deeply insightful, these stories show us characters striving to make sense of the grand themes of family, love, death, and our changing world. She Is Haunted flags Paige Clark as a wondrous and wise new literary talent.
Excerpt in The Offing:
“Conversations with My Brother About Trees” from She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
Excerpt in Literary Hub:
“Why My Hair Is Long” from She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
Paige Clark in The Guardian | July 19, 2021
"My husband finished his album from hospital. His death taught me how to live"
"Is She Is Haunted about Adrian? It is inspired by him, but this book is about me. It is about all the ways I learned how to exist."
Paige Clark in BOMB | July 20, 2022
"The Extraordinary Illiteracy of Place and the Immigrant: Writing Without Country"
"From immigration to colonization, Paige Clark considers what it means to 'go back to where you come from.'"
Paige Clark in The Rumpus | July 8, 2022
"What to Read When You’d Rather be in Australia"
"When I first moved to Naarm (Melbourne, Australia), I had never read any books by Australian writers and had never heard of any Australian writers besides Tim Winton. Little did I know that some of the most exciting English language writing was happening here, particularly by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers. This is the reading list that I wish I’d had then. These books show what life is like in this country more than any travel guide ever could."
Scroll to bottom for Goodreads reviews.
* Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, Shortlist
* 2022 Stella Prize, Longlist
"Paige Clark’s debut collection of linked stories, She Is Haunted, explores the shifting boundaries of selfhood amid loss and grief. Clark, a Chinese/American/Australian writer and scholar, harrowingly evokes our current moment: climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rise in anti-Asian violence across North America all inform these stories. Many of Clark’s protagonists are mixed-race Asian women who grapple with how their heritage shapes their relationships with friends, family members, and lovers. More than a few of them are named Elisabeth (or variations thereof) and share overlapping histories and similar lexicons—as if they were parts of a single consciousness refracted across time and space. Clark’s prose is spare and precise, and she has a penchant for incisive satire that extends into speculative or surreal realms."
—Apogee Journal interview with Paige Clark by Michael Prior, author of Burning Province (Sept 1, 2022)
"The Beauty Is Where the Play Is": A Conversation with Paige Clark on She Is Haunted"
"Paige Clark on Relationships, Obsession, and Reality in She Is Haunted"
—Observer interview with Paige Clark by Tiffany Babb, May 2, 2022
Bookin’ Podcast interview with Paige Clark, Episode 184
—Jason Jefferies, presented by Quail Ridge Books, host of Bookin', May 16, 2022
(Psst—copies of She Is Haunted can be purchased from Quail Ridge Books with free shipping)
"When I read Paige Clark’s She Is Haunted, I was by turns delighted and moved: delighted because Clark takes obvious care and joy in crafting her sentences, and moved because her stories approach life’s mysteries with such emotional honesty... reading her suffused me with the wonder of approaching my life from an unexpected angle, leaving me awestruck but also disturbed. It is a perspective art uniquely provides. We all need it, from time to time."
—YZ Chin, Poets & Writers
"First Fiction 2022: An interview between Paige Clark and YZ Chin, author of Edge Case"
"Despite this similarity in subject matter, no two stories are alike; each is bizarre in its own delicious way... Clark’s prose is incisive yet playful, and she has an unerring eye for the contradictions and eccentricities of human nature, especially our innate need to connect and the many ways we fail to do so. Her characters have a strong urge to love despite the frequent obstacles they put in their own way. The boundaries she crosses are not just geographical and cultural: Her love stories are shadowed by grief, and her grief stories are brightened with love."
—Alice Stephens, Washington Independent Review of Books
(Read the full review of She Is Haunted)
"Whether the story confronts the supernatural, such as the title piece where a ghost haunts her grieving mother, or whether it is set in a realist world like 'Private Eating,' where a woman lies about being vegetarian to impress a man, the oftentimes petty judgements of Clark’s protagonists encourage the reader to laugh at their own preconceptions of themselves and the world we live in... In this current age of climate change, pandemic, and war, Paige Clark’s She Is Haunted is a necessary read."
—Nick Gardner, Stillpoint Magazine
(Read the full review of She Is Haunted)
"The collection is beautifully intimate, yet methodically layered... Intertwining pain and comedy, She Is Haunted is a testament to how complex emotional attachments are, and how many different forms coping with loss can take. The experiences the reader endures with the main characters are so emotionally raw, as Clark rejects predictable narratives for a study of struggling with identity and loss. Revolving around relationships, identity, and grief, She Is Haunted drops the reader into the story and provides only the most essential information about its world in favor of action and emotional reflection. A bitterly funny look into sentimentality, Clark’s debut manages to be introspective and playful, cathartic and comedic."
—Samantha Loree, The Chicago Review of Books
(Read the full review of She Is Haunted)
"With a steady narrative voice, Clark is able to show the many, often comical and irrational, sides of personal grief.... This quality of longing is ever-present in the collection, shaped by the identities of Clark’s narrators, by the grounded, relatable inner monologues, and by the isolated, sometimes fantastic settings. She Is Haunted is ultimately a profound study in what makes a person ache, the ways they prepare for it, and the things they do to soothe it."
—Frankie Martinez, Southern Review of Books
(Read the full review of She Is Haunted)
"The stories in Chinese/American/Australian writer Paige Clark’s debut collection, She Is Haunted, deal with relationships—both romantic and those between mothers and daughters—and mortality."
—Susan Blumberg-Kason, Asian Review of Books
(Read the full review of She Is Haunted)
"Clark’s fresh debut collection of 18 stories is focused on themes of family, loss, trauma, longing, resilience, climate and gender in prose that is witty, disarming and completely engrossing."
—Karla J. Strand, Ms. Magazine
"May 2022 reads for the rest of us"
Paige Clark has penned a letter for The Rumpus' "Letters in the Mail" program.
"In turns devastating and hilarious, Clark’s exceptional debut collection cuts right to the emotional core of its characters and their conflicts in stories that examine Asian identity, familial relationships, climate anxiety, and gender with an astonishing sense of nuance and clarity... With a striking style, Clark consistently hits her mark, sticking each landing with breathtaking poignancy. This will not disappoint."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
(Read the book review on Publishers Weekly)
"Many Elizabeths appear in Paige Clark's collection. They are zany, tender, slyly wise, and always enchanting. I laughed! I cried! And I winced knowingly along as they plunge into the mysteries of diasporic identity, intimacy, and loss. Mothers and daughters come together, fall apart. Lovers charm and feint. They haunt me, in the best possible way."
—YZ Chin, Entertainment Weekly
"Authors pick their most anticipated books of 2022"
"In our Nine Books About Your Life series, authors are invited to talk about nine types of books that have had an impact on their life. Their responses give us a glimpse into their relationships with their books and other people’s books. In this installment, we speak with Paige Clark, author of She Is Haunted."
—Nicholas Alexander Hayes, Your Impossible Voice
"Nine Books About Your Life: an interview with Paige Clark"
"Grief and reckoning take many forms in Paige Clark’s expressive collection She Is Haunted. Haunting is most often a regret that tethers one to a place or people: that is the concept at the core of this collection. Every character is haunted by something with which only she can wrestle—or so she thinks.... Quieter stories observe the intersectionality of being an Asian woman. In one, two women have a small, profound realization about their shared haunting by racism and fetishization. Another looks at generational differences between a mother and a daughter... Steeped in longing, the stories of She Is Haunted celebrate the messy strength of women."
—Dontaná McPherson-Joseph, Foreword Reviews
(Read the full review of She Is Haunted)
She Is Haunted appears in "19 new books to savor this week."
—Katie Yee, Lit Hub
"She Is Haunted kept me looking forward to a new story each day, with anticipation for something that would absolutely surprise me, make me think all the next day about how we operate as humans, as creatures, as lovers. Never predictable, riveting and trembling with the unexpected, this book is a remarkable debut, and Paige Clark a writer to celebrate."
—Susan Straight, author of In the Country of Women, among others
"Clark’s debut collection of 18 stories gives keen insight into the transnational Chinese experience and the often relatable struggles and fears these characters face... Clark's stories explore trauma, mother-daughter relationships, female friendships, identity, and grief with humor and an incredible wit that will capture readers."
—Emily Park, Booklist
(Read the full review of She Is Haunted)
"What a beautifully wrought collection this is. Paige Clark has a singular voice, witty and graceful, and her explorations of grief, loss, and identity are deeply moving. I will remember these strange, funny, melancholy stories for a long time."
—Alix Ohlin, author of We Want What We Want, Dual Citizens, among others
"Paige Clark's stories in She is Haunted illuminate all of the corners of the heart — she examines her characters' journeys through grief, envy, connection, and love, across nations, identity and trauma. Her work has the deep honesty and precision of writers like Amy Hempel, Yoko Ogawa, and Alice Munro. A stunning collection."
—Karen E. Bender, author of The New Order and Refund
"Paige Clark is a wonderfully sly, fierce and fearless writer and She is Haunted is full of the best kinds of surprises. I couldn’t stop turning the pages."
—Margot Livesey, author of The Boy in the Field
"Crisply contemporary yet timeless, She Is Haunted grapples with every aspect of our current moment, from global warming and the science-fictional alteration of our bodies; to their duplication by cloning, to avoid unbearable grief; to reproductive freedom, and the complexities of chosen motherhood; to the trans-global experience, and the formation of intentional communities, and identities. Quick-witted, astute, and deeply felt, Paige Clark's precise and confident prose delivers us to the center of our most painfully fleeting yet necessary moments in life, surprising us with mercy and humanity."
—Sarah Gerard, author of True Love
"She is Haunted is a beautiful, brutal, and unsettling debut. Clark confronts agency, identity and longing with masterful precision and true originality — each story has its own skewed logic and wonderfully odd atmosphere. I can't stop thinking about this stylish, deeply strange collection."
—Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light
"What an exuberant and tender collection! Paige Clark concocts stories erupting with lively language, deft wordplay, and great depth of feeling. Laugh, cry, and wince knowingly along with the many Elizabeths of the book as they broach the mysteries of intimacy and loss. I am haunted by them, in the best possible way."
—YZ Chin, author of Edge Case
"These strange, feminist and transgessive stories thrilled me. Read She Is Haunted for the artistry but know each and every story will slip a sliver of rebellion into your heart."
—Darcey Steinke, author of Flash Count Diary and Sister Golden Hair, among others
"With brilliant wit and incandescent sentences Paige Clark explores the shimmering nuances of grief, longing, self, and connection. The stories in She Is Haunted pulse with inventive frequencies and surreal echoes. The result is a vibrant, unsettling, and emotionally expansive collection."
—Gina Nutt, author of Night Rooms
"Debut books of short stories can follow something of a pattern: some pyrotechnics to show range, potentially autobiographical elements, a singular perspective or worldview that separates the author from the pack. But while all of this is true of She Is Haunted, this book is a true original, with skilled, delicate power and an unforgettable mix of raw humour, fantastical digressions and melancholy insight... This is one of the most enjoyable, memorable Australian books of this year."
—Michael Williams, The Guardian
(Read "The 25 best Australian books of 2021")
"Unexpectedly tender and witty. Fans of Crying in H Mart and On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous will love this collection of stories for its depiction of transnational Asian identities, grief and family. I loved Clark's ability to subtly draw the reader in and leave them in a web of complexities."
—Rachel Brewer, Carmichael's Bookstore (Louisville, Kentucky)
"I, who often have trouble getting through books of short stories, thoroughly enjoyed this debut collection by Chinese / American / Australian author Paige Clark. This book is quietly hilarious, even as Clark contemplates serious topics like abortion, jealousy, climate change, and the rise of anti-Asian hate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the characters grieve–the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship or job, the absence of their culture in a new home–and devise elaborate plans for redemption. Each story features a character whose name is Elizabeth, or one of its many variations, although sometimes characters go unnamed. The book is dedicated to them. Often unconcerned with likeability, each character simply wants their story to be heard. I can’t wait to read more!"
—Mary Wahlmeier Bracciano, The Raven Book Store (Lawrence, Kansas)
"In her debut short story collection She Is Haunted, the Chinese-American-Australian writer and academic Paige Clark pays tribute to both of her home countries while exploring issues of gender, race, family, and friendship. Her protagonists, who often share her ethnic background, allow Clark to explore the bonds between East Asian women, as well as the divisions that form—the natural tendency for comparison and criticism that women are socialized into, for instance. A young Chinese American woman discovers that she has more in common with her white partner's ex than she initially thought; a homebound injured ballerina finds herself searching for signs of infidelity between her dancer husband and his performance partner; a woman begins to cosplay as her recently deceased husband as a way to keep him alive, erasing herself in the process. Clark writes beautifully of love, friendship, and grief—of what brings us together and what tears us apart. Her talent shines through in each and every story, and this collection is a rarity in that it will hold the reader's attention from start to finish. A powerful and promising debut from a distinct and new voice in the literary field."
—Meghana Kandlur, Seminary Co-op Bookstores (Chicago, IL)
"With this cohesive and tantalisingly interlinked collection of 18 stories, Paige Clark presents her readers with a unique voice and a spirited way of expressing each character’s narrative. Covering themes of family relationships, grief, intimacy and connection, this mercurial yet relatable work of fiction will instantly appeal."
—Kate McIntosh, The Readings New Australian Fiction Prize shortlist 2021
“In their originality and shocking excellence these stories reminded me of the mahi of Pip Adam and Sharon Lam… Many of the characters are living in strange states: brain modification, dementia, delusion, intense self-deception. Some are ghosts peering in on the living… Many of the stories are centred around Chinese-American or Chinese-Australian characters, and contain familiar themes of generational differences in immigrant families and the loss and recovery of native languages. Clark has a particularly deft touch in illustrating complicated mother-daughter relationships that range from strained to downright cruel.”
—Elizabeth Heritage, The New Zealand Herald
(Read the book review in The New Zealand Herald)
"Everything about She is Haunted, including Paige’s absence from social media, makes you think. The book is a collection of tender stories detailing grief, trauma, female relationships, and Paige’s Asian identity. It’s her story, fictionalised and told through the lens of many different characters."
—Steffanie Tan, Pedestrian
(From an interview with author Paige Clark)
“Paige Clark’s debut collection She Is Haunted might just be one of the best books of the year… Haunting is exactly the word that I would use to sum up the effect of reading this book; even a week after closing its final pages, I still think about re-reading it.”
—Emily Paull, The AU Review
(Read the book review on The AU Review)
"Comprising eighteen short stories, Clark’s collection of fiction braids the real and the surreal. Perspectives are skewed playfully but an intent to explore serious matters often lies beneath the whimsy."
—Thuy On, Sydney Review of Books
(Read the book review on Sydney Review of Books)
“Aching and disquieted, urbane and oblique, Clark’s is a humorous, wiry voice: a mix of high and low culture, boppy registers and jibes and sudden intrusions of seriousness; epiphanies (occasional); poignancy (often frustrated). Many of the Asian characters are only nominally so – they are hyphenated, diasporic… She Is Haunted is the strongest fiction debut I have read all year.
—Declan Fry, The Sydney Morning Herald
(Read the book review on The Sydney Morning Herald)
"She Is Haunted is electrically original in both prose style and energy. Fans of inventive fiction such as Elizabeth Tan’s recent Readings Prize-winning Smart Ovens for Lonely People or Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties will find much to admire about She Is Haunted, but this collection will also resonate with anyone drawn to stories of identity and connection, especially female friendships and mother-daughter relationships. An absolute pleasure to read."
—Stella Charls, bookseller at Readings Carlton
(Read the book review here)
"This seamlessly connected collection of standalone stories focuses its perceptive lens on the lived experiences of women exploring death through life, and life through death. Clark walks sharp lines between truth and rejection, innovation and tradition, fate and contingency, with casual intelligence and deep emotional resonance. Every story reads like a thought experiment, or a fragment of self; hyperreal, philosophical, and rich in non-generic symbolism."
—Nanci Nott, ArtsHub
(Read the book review on ArtsHub)
"She is Haunted lingers as a mediation on hard times and relationships that hums with a sharp intelligence and black wit, drawn with a complex emotional palette."
—Jo Case, InDaily
(Read the book review on InDaily)
"A wondrous spirit animates She Is Haunted. In sentences of bracing snap and clarity, Clark's stories delight and amuse, even as they expose tender truths and secrets. An astonishing debut."
—Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
"The real meets the ethereal here and becomes something all its own. Clark is the best new writer in Australia and this book is like nothing else."
—Robert Lukins, author of The Everlasting Sunday
"The stories in She Is Haunted grapple with a mix of timeless human problems and uniquely contemporary dilemmas: grief, illness, identity, and heartbreak, but also who gets custody of the dog after a break-up, bureaucratic responses to deeply personal relationship issues, and the politics of food. Paige Clark writes with wit, warmth and nuance, using precise, playful language, giving us a collection of (sometimes embarrassingly) relatable characters, sneaky insights and surprising bursts of joy."
—Emily Maguire, author of Love Objects and An Isolated Incident
“Paige Clark’s stories contain worlds within pages. Like Carmen Maria Machado, she takes ideas and runs with them into strange, often uneasy places. From the ordinary to the bizarre, these compelling stories reveal biting truths about race, relationships and life.”
—Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, writer and critic
“A stunning collection of short stories about identity, connection and trying to make sense of our modern world. Paige Clark is a star.”
—Hannah-Rose Yee, journalist and writer
Paige Clark is a Chinese/American/Australian fiction writer, researcher and teacher from Los Angeles. Her fiction has appeared in Meanjin, Meniscus and New World Writing. In 2019, she was runner-up for the Peter Carey Short Story Award and shortlisted for the David Harold Tribe Fiction Award. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication Theory from Boston University and a Master of Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing from the University of Melbourne, where she is currently at work on her PhD. Her research addresses the relationship between race, craft and the teaching of creative writing. She lives in Melbourne with her partner, Alex, and their dog, Freddie.
Visit the Paige Clark author page for additional details and interviews.
Visit the Paige Clark author website.
BOOK CLUB & READER GUIDE: Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Even though the collection She Is Haunted is comprised of 18 short stories that vary in settings, eras, and characters, what common threads would you say the stories share? Which aspects of the collection resonated most deeply with you?
2. The first story is titled after famous psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who wrote the book On Death and Dying, which introduced the idea of the five stages of grief in the face of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. What are the things that the pregnant main character has in her life that she cherishes? What is she most worried about? How is her relationship with God intertwined with the ideas on death that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross presented?
3. Although several of the stories center directly on the death of a loved one (consider “Times I’ve Wanted to Be You,” “The Cranes,” “She Is Haunted,” and “Dead Summer”) or the breakup of a relationship (consider “A Woman in Love,” “Fortune,” “Gwendolyn Wakes”), the resulting grief and methods of coping take many different forms. Talk about how the characters in these stories reacted to their situations and how they handled the overwhelming emotion of loss.
4. Many of the characters that appear in the collection have variations of the name Elizabeth, and the opening dedication reads: “For all the Elizabeths who have lived through this and more.” What effect did the commonality of the different characters’ names have on your reading? Who do you think the book is dedicated to?
5. In the early story “Lie-in,” identity—and the connection between language and identity—are explored through the character of a ballerina who has sacrificed everything for ballet, but is now reckoning with a career-ending injury. While on a global ballet tour, who is her husband Paul paired with? What are the different reasons why this causes so much jealousy for the injured ballerina? Why do you think this is the moment that she chooses to enroll herself in a Cantonese language class for the first time? Were you surprised by the ending of this story? Talk about what role you see language playing in defining a person’s identity; what might the experience be for someone who looks “like a native speaker” and is assumed to speak a given language, but does not? What does the Cantonese teacher reveal to the ballerina about her own name? Speak about how this character’s choice in their name relates to identity.
6. Communication and the many different forms that it can take are in focus in the story “Conversations with My Brother about Trees,” where how and why trees “speak” to each other is intertwined with scenes of a mother and her daughter over the course of her childhood into adulthood. The daughter reveals to the reader: “my mother was born in a foreign tongue. And though her English is perfect and her Chinese broken, I don’t understand her.” What are some examples of how trees “speak” to each other? Why do you think the daughter might be so interested in this? How are the daughter and her beloved backyard sycamore tree similar?
7. Different facets of racism, specifically endured by East Asian women, are explored in the collection’s stories. What instances of physical attacks, fetishization, discrimination, and microaggressions stood out to you the most? Discuss the different scenes that depicted some of these experiences and what impact they had on you as the reader.
8. Beloved pet dogs appear as an important element in many of the stories in the collection, including “A Woman in Love,” which features Minnie, “a long-haired chihuahua cross—the color, shape and size of a sweet potato,” at the center of a newly divorced couple’s conflict. Early on we learn that Bettie and Bernard chose to have a medically induced abortion at three months of pregnancy. How does Bettie feel about this decision? Why do you think she becomes so singularly obsessed with either keeping Minnie in her life, or creating a clone of Minnie instead?
9. The story “What We Deserve,” set in an unspecified post-Covid future time, focuses on Rosa, now in her 80s and a resident in an aged-care facility, as well as flashbacks from her past. What realities of facility-care does this story explore? Were you surprised by any of the interactions of the residents, their care givers, and the families that come to visit, such as Rosa’s adult daughter Stella?
10. In “Safety Triangle,” the story’s narrator recounts a scene from a family vacation to the top of a volcano: how did each of the family members feel about this experience? What does the mother say to her daughter, our narrator, at the top of the volcano? What do you think the mother’s intentions were? Of this interaction, the narrator says: “How can I be a mother when I don’t know how to be a daughter?” What do you think the narrator’s expectations of herself were?
11. The story “Snow Angels” is centered on two college-age friends, with a beautiful coat being lent from one friend to the other tying the story together. Right away, Bethie is shown to be naïve and optimistic—playing in the snow like a child—while Stirling appears to be much more aware and realistic—protecting her friend from the freezing cold. What is their friendship like? What happens to Bethie while she is walking down the street, which Stirling witnesses? Describe each young woman’s reaction to this random act of violence. How does this experience change Stirling’s feelings about her beloved coat? In what ways does this story pay homage to the famous 1842 short story “The Overcoat” by Russian author Nikolai Gogol?
12. Many stories in the collection explore the experience of being present with a loved one as they are dying, and what comes next for the living. What specific emotions are examined in the story “Times I’ve Wanted to Be You,” where a widow, Beth, insists on only wearing the too-big clothes of her husband? What does Janie do for Beth? How do Beth’s emotions change over the course of the story?
13. Strong female friendships are depicted throughout the collection, from major to minor elements within the stories. Which relationships in particular resonated with you the most? Did any remind you of experiences you’ve personally had?
14. Many of the collection’s stories shine a spotlight on extremely complicated mother-daughter relationships. In “Why My Hair Is Long,” the narrator says: “Tell someone you do not speak to your mother and they always say you should instead of why.” In this story, what was her childhood relationship like with her mother? How is her experience juxtaposed with that of her new boyfriend? Beyond just disliking a haircut given to the daughter by the mother, why was this act in particular so significant? How does the estranged daughter feel about her relationship with her mother as an adult?
15. The idea of forgiveness in close relationships—between friends, parents and children, couples—is present in multiple stories, including “Why My Hair Is Long”: is there anything the mother could have done to win forgiveness? In the story “Fortune,” we see two close friends consoling each other: what decision has each young woman recently made, prompting one to say aloud: “What can a person forgive?” Were there any other instances in the collection that struck you as further exploring this topic?
16. The story “Private Eating” opens with a woman telling a lie in order to appeal to a man who is a handsome doctor and a fierce vegetarian. We are also quickly introduced to the fact that the woman recently experienced a breakup based on a lie, with her ex claiming to want to raise their future children as Christians, but her conclusion was: “He would not marry a Chinese woman. His parents had won. The entire time they dated, the woman’s boyfriend had not been to church once.” Do you think her current behavior with the doctor is being affected by her previous failed relationship? In what ways does she make sacrifices for her new boyfriend? Does the doctor turn out to be as wonderful as she hopes he will be? What is the woman’s relationship with food like while she is dating him? Why do you think this is?
17. An imagined future experiencing the extreme effects of global warming is the underpinning of “Amygdala,” where brain surgery—in order to continue living on the planet—is commonplace. What is the world like in this future setting? Eliza chooses to have her left frontal cortex removed and Adam has his amygdala removed: what are the pros and cons of each surgery? What is their post-surgery life like? Did anything surprise you about this depiction of an overwhelming, current-day concern?
18. In “Dead Summer,” the story that ends this collection, we meet a young woman who has just lost her mother, having been in the hospital with her during her final days as she quietly passed away. What is the woman’s immediate reaction to her mother’s death? How does she treat the people closest to her in the aftermath of losing her mother? What effect did the constant reminders of heat versus cold have on you while reading this story?
19. In the title story, “She Is Haunted,” we’re met with an opening quote that questions our realities—that “your reality is the only reality” may be incorrect. What tone does this set for this two-part story? Do you think it is an idea that might extend past this story, to the collection as a whole? In Part I, our narrator is the ghost of a woman who has died of cancer and is now visiting her family members; upon visiting her mother, the ghost says: “I haunt not so she can see me, but so I can see her.” What realizations does the ghost-daughter have of her childhood and of her mother? In Part II, it is the mother that has died: what is her experience like witnessing her own funeral? Does she have any regrets about her daughter? Each part of this story shows us insight into the daughter’s and the mother’s realities: are they incompatible? Did the ideas explored in this story resonate with you on a personal level, considering relationships in your own life?
Enjoy a sneak peek of select pages from She Is Haunted!
View She Is Haunted sneak peek on Issuu.com
TERRITORY: U.S. + Canada sales only
FORMAT: Paperback (1st printing with gatefold)
LIST PRICE: $17.99
PRINT ISBN: 9781953387202
DIGITAL ISBN: 9781953387219
RELEASE DATE: 5/17/2022
SIZE: 5.5" x 7.5"
Printed in Canada by Marquis, with the following environmental statement:
*Printed on Rolland Enviro. This paper contains 100% post-consumer fiber, is manufactured using renewable energy - Biogas and processed chlorine free.
*FSC certified paper (inside and cover).