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by Joanna Walsh

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“Joanna Walsh's haunting and unforgettable stories enact a literal vertigo—the feeling that if I fall I will fall not toward the earth but into space—by probing the spaces between things. Waiting for news in a children's hospital, pondering her husband's multiple online flirtations or observing the tourists and locals at a third-world archeological site, her narrator approaches the suppressed state of panic coursing beneath things that are normally tamed by our blunted perceptions of ordinary life. Vertigo is an original and breathtaking book.” (Chris Kraus)

Additional Book Information

Series: Dorothy
ISBN: 9780989760751
Pages: 120
Publication Date:


With wry humor and profound sensitivity, Walsh takes what is mundane and transforms it into something otherworldly with sentences that can make your heart stop. A feat of language.
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

From the publisher that unearthed the brilliant and now-lauded Nell Zink comes another slim work of fiction as strange as it is compelling. Vertigo is a funny, absurd collection of stories.
The Huffington Post

Think Renata Adler's Speedboat with a faster engine. . . . Vertigo reads with the exhilarating speed and concentrated force of a poetry collection. Each word seems carefully weighed and prodded for sound, taste, touch. . . . The stories are delicate, but they leave a strong impression, a lasting sense of detachment colliding with feeling, a heady destabilization.
Los Angeles Times

Her writing sways between the tense and the absurd, as if it's hovering between this world and another. This time last year, Dorothy brought us Nell Zink's The Wallcreeper. Walsh's Vertigo may similarly redistribute the possibilities of contemporary fiction, especially if it meets with the wider audience her work demands.
Flavorwire, “33 Must Read Books for Fall 2015”

Beautifully simple and unembellished, Walsh's writing—most captivating in its ability to unnerve—is cleverly revealing of her protagonist's unique and sensitive personality.
The Guardian

Reading Vertigo has opened even wider my conceptions of what's possible in fiction—how a book can be like a series of photographs, like cinema. These stories appear as much as they engage with narrative, saturated with a calm yet rich color. I've not read anything like it and feel it is quietly subverting the hell out of the form.
—Amina Cain

Stunning short, sharp shocks with insight that reminds me of the very personal work of Clarice Lispector . . . Packs a wallop into a very small space.
—Jeff VanderMeer

This collection of work from 3:AM fiction editor Joanna Walsh makes the familiar alien, breaking down and remaking quotidian situations, and in the process turning them into gripping literature.
Vol. 1 Brooklyn

Splendidly wry and offbeat . . . both intellectual and aware. Stories to be digested slowly, and savored.
Sunday Herald

Supple, floating stories that unfold like memories almost too painful to recall in an affectless voice that can be digressive or disarmingly direct but which is ultimately devastating.
The Believer

[T]his book is about how embarrassing it is to be alive, how each of us is continually barred from our self. . . . Vertigo is a writer's coup.
The Rumpus

The stories in Walsh's Vertigo are equally strange and edgy. She's a flâneur who's just as capable of representing the exterior and interior wreckage with equal precision. She takes on big ideas—partnership, loneliness, femininity, etc.—through the vibrant minutiae of contemporary experience.
Electric Literature

[H]er stories reveal a psychological landscape lightly spooked by loneliness, jealousy and alienation.
The New York Times

The stories in Vertigo are by turns funny, surreal, modernist, remaining at all times accessible.
The Irish Times

I'm not sure I've ever read a book so full of space, though most of the distances are not geographical (some are)—they are distances from which women observe themselves living lives, and although these are lives mostly free of upheaval and privation, the unhurried urgency with which they are observed makes everything here seem vital and dangerous.

Each story is aglitter with pain and insight. . . . Moments of blazing perspicacity, creativity, intelligence, and dark humor are insanely abundant in [Walsh's] writing; they pop at every turn: like nails in the sand: like diamonds in water.
—Numéro Cinq

[W]hile Walsh's prose shares much stylistically with [Lydia] Davis's, her depictions of women's inner lives are closer to cinema. Vertigo summons the relentless long takes and domestic claustrophobia of Jeanne Dielman; the black-and-white minimalism and protracted flânerie of Cléo; the haunting silence at the center of Barbara Loden's Wanda.
Music & Literature

Vertigo is a slim but deadly volume.
Sydney Review of Books

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