She Is Haunted
a collection of stories by
* Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, Shortlist
* 2022 Stella Prize, Longlist
"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 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."
Scroll to bottom for Goodreads reviews.
* Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, Shortlist
* 2022 Stella Prize, Longlist
"Paige Clark on Relationships, Obsession, and Reality in She Is Haunted"
—Observer interview with Paige Clark by Tiffany Babb (May 2, 2022)
"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
"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
"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
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).