Rag: Stories (Paperback)
One of Vol. 1 Brooklyn and Tor.com's Books to Read in February
From the author of Heartbreaker, a disquieting collection tracing the destructive consequences of the desire for connection
A man, forgotten by the world, takes care of his deaf brother while euthanizing dogs for a living. A stepbrother so desperately wants to become his stepsibling that he rapes his girlfriend. In Maryse Meijer’s decidedly dark and searingly honest collection Rag, the desperate human desire for connection slips into a realm that approximates horror.
Meijer’s explosive debut collection, Heartbreaker, reinvented sexualized and romantic taboos, holding nothing back. In Rag, Meijer’s fearless follow-up, she shifts her focus to the dark heart of intimacies of all kinds, and the ways in which isolated people’s yearning for community can breed violence, danger, and madness. With unparalleled precision, Meijer spins stories that leave you troubled and slightly shaken by her uncanny ability to elicit empathy for society’s most marginalized people.
About the Author
Maryse Meijer is the author of the story collection Heartbreaker (FSG, 2016), which was one of Electric Literature’s 25 Best Short Story Collections of 2016.
Her work has appeared in Meridian, Portland Review, Washington Square Review, Indiana Review, and actual paper. She lives in Chicago.
"Maryse Meijer’s stories reside in that place where psychological realism begins to transform into something that resembles horror. She has a fantastic sense for the visceral and the disquieting, and for unexpected literary juxtapositions. This latest collection offers readers another opportunity to be memorably disoriented." --Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"[Maryse Meijer] has a gift for writing sharp, vivid stories that are strange and horrifying in the most delightful way . . . Meijer tells stories that haven’t been told before." --Rachel León, Chicago Review of Books
"In Meijer’s outstanding and disturbing second collection, her fragmented writing style produces an intense and distilled view of isolated moments—or, conversely, makes the outrageous or aberrant seem ordinary . . . Though reminiscent of Mary Gaitskill, Jean Rhys, and Muriel Spark, these 14 stories bear a powerful style that is Meijer’s own." --Publishers Weekly (starred)
"An unsettling glimpse into the seething underworld of toxic masculinity . . . Like Samantha Hunt and Carmen Maria Machado, Meijer wields strangeness to amplify the emotional realities of her narrators . . . Meijer's stories are an indictment of the indignities women—and other men—face every day as they dodge or appease the dangerous impulses and appetites of misogyny. A rich, beautiful, and utterly terrifying book." --Kirkus (starred)
"The male characters Meijer conjures face each unfolding horror with enigmatic stoicism, as though toxic masculinity is a new, unheard-of experience . . . Meijer’s collection is definitely affecting and timely." --Booklist
These stories are extremely good. I could reference masters of the particular as far flung as Thomas Bernhard or Lucia Berlin, but the resonance of Maryse Meijer’s ultra-precise prose is too unique. Rag is truly something else." --Dennis Cooper, author of The Marbled Swarm
"Maryse Meijer is a fearless writer. In these wild and inventive stories, Meijer brilliantly channels the most unsettled corners of the human heart. Rag is a glittering nightmare, a wilderness aflame with violence and desire, a harrowing and profound collection." --Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel
“Maryse Meijer is a master of the dark arts, transforming moments of everyday dysphoria into evocative sculptures of loss, aching and oozing with life. In her hands, existence becomes a thing to be felt anew: visceral, fleshly, and almost unbearably human. These stories will shake you.” --Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine