Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Holly Goddard Jones and her short story collection 'Girl Trouble'

A few days ago I recieved my Guernica issue update. In the features section writer Claire Messud showcases the work of seven female writers: Chimamanda Adichie, Sefi Atta, Holly Goddard Jones, Elliott Holt, Porochista Khakpour, Lorraine Adams, and Hasanthika Sirisena. I was already a fan of some of the writers such as Chimamanda Adichie and Lorraine Adams (whose story 'Zalzala' is set in Pakistan), however I had not heard of many others.
I began reading the stories in sequence. First Adichie, then Atta, next Holly Goddard Jones' story Suspension. As I began it I thought, oh no not another high school drama between the good looking and the not so good looking, but, the more I read, the more my initial presumption was replaced by sheer awe. It is about high school and the good looking and the not so good looking, yet the hard, fast, elegant prose delivers a story that will cling to your soul.
I so very much wanted more of Ms. Jones that I put on hold reading the remaining Guernica stories and began a feverish googling.
Holly Goddard Jones has a website. She has two doggies. And a short story collection 'Girl Trouble'. The stories are set in Roma, Kentucky, USA and are about unremarkable humans remarkable for surviving ordinary ups and downs, and sometimes terrible tragedies. Holly's story telling skills are extraordinary, and her characters fiercely masculine and harshly female, simply humans you can recognise no matter where you live.
A few stories are on line. Good Girl. Life Expectancy. Parts. Apparently, Parts has much revised for her the final published collection and since I couldn't wait to read the re-vision, I braved the snow falling outside and went to buy 'Girl Trouble'. I have read some fantastic books over the last many months; Girl Troubles is uberfantastic. Run, sprint, leap to get your copy, and then settle down to be smitten.
P.S. Holly discusses her writing process.