$15.95

Fifth Woman

Current Stock:
UPC: 9781946448170
Author: Nona Caspers
Compiler: Stacey D'Erasmo
Out of stock
  • Series: Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Sarabande Books (August 14, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781946448170
  • ISBN-13: 978-1946448170
  • ASIN: 1946448176
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches

Years after Caspers’s unnamed narrator loses her first lover in a tragic accident, she finds herself wondering, “What did she want from me? What are the things that matter?” In vivid, richly detailed vignettes, the book tracks the cyclical nature of grief and remembrance across a life fractured by loss. At times dryly comical, at other times radiantly surreal, The Fifth Woman is a testament to the resurrecting power of memory and enduring love.

Reviews

2018 LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist

2018 Foreword Indies Book of the Year Finalist for Literary Fiction and LGBT Fiction

"Caspers’ writing is spare and deceptively straightforward, lending even her realist portraits the soft edges of a dream. . . . Each vignette is short―some are only a page long―but poignant; as if Lydia Davis’ controlled remove had been sifted through the humor and immediacy of Michelle Tea. But it’s the accumulation of grief that matters here, almost as much as the details of domesticity, a quiet but tender declaration of queer love lost in San Francisco." ―Kirkus Reviews

"This gem of a collection is a transcendent portrayal of bereavement, showing how death elevates the mundane and affects everything humans do, see, and think."―Publishers Weekly

"mesmerizing, moving. . ."―Brandon Yu, The San Francisco Chronicle

"In twenty three connected exquisite moments (or stories) the novel constructs a map of loss, its creative potential, its capacity to tear open the world, trouble boundaries, and dust the daily with wonder. In The Fifth Woman, grief is queer-as-in-odd, as in boundary-blurring, as in otherways loving, as in curious. . . . You need a book, like this one, that reminds you of what your own lost love once told you, that everything can be written about, and because it explores so clearly the stage, the smoke, and the mirrors of this two-bit magic trick of existence: a person is here and then they are gone."―Carson Beker, LAMBDA Literary

“The mundane becomes poetic in Nona Caspers’s novel-in-vignettes, The Fifth Woman. Its atmosphere of grief is established with tight, beautiful prose. . . . There are no wasted words. The text itself is a pleasure.” ―Foreword Review, Starred Review

“Precise and glowing prose.”―May-Lee Chai, The Millions

"[I]ncredible. . .The Fifth Woman is an ecosystem of grief; a circular cloud of emotion, memory, and experience that bends towards the surreal, exploring, or so it seems, every nook and cranny of the aftermath of the death of a loved one."―Noah Sanders, Empty Mirror

"The writing style is lyrical and the story moves through different elements―ants, the girlfriend, the apartment, water, the neighbors―to create a circular, dreamlike remembrance."
―Lisa Martin, The Guardsman

The Fifth Woman is stealthily astonishing from its first line to its last. Over the course of twenty-three connected short fictions, the writer marks out a trail of mourning that is both quite straightforward and miraculously layered, strange, and emotionally multifaceted. There is not a single sentence in these stories that is not as clear as water…. It is a wonderful book.”―Stacey D’Erasmo

"Grief alters the world in ways that are both expected and less so. The Fifth Woman is a story of love, loss, and carrying on, in language that is always precise and often transporting. There is a sadness here but also acute observation and magical happenings. Nona Caspers is a true original."―Jean L. Thompson, author of Who Do You Love and The Woman Driver

"Let me just put it there: This is one of the most beautiful, sorrowful, light-infused love stories I’ve ever read. Some stories you walk around with for good. The Fifth Woman will be one of them. Nona Caspers will change the way you see. Can a reader ask for more?"―Peter Orner

“The stories in The Fifth Woman recall the fabulist tales of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya and Kelly Link. In exquisitely rendered sentences, Nona Caspers pushes at the borders of the surreal while exploring the fine lines separating love and loss, memory and desire. She has written a book to be savored.” —May-lee Chai, author of Dragon Chica and Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories

“Let me just put it there: This is one of the most beautiful, sorrowful, light-infused love stories I’ve ever read. Some stories you walk around with for good. The Fifth Womanwill be one of them. Nona Caspers will change the way you see. Can a reader ask for more?” —Peter Orner, author of Am I Alone Here? and Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge

“Grief alters the world in ways that are both expected and less so. The Fifth Woman is a story of love, loss, and carrying on, in language that is always precise and often transporting. There is sadness here but also acute observation and magical happenings. Nona Caspers is a true original.” —Jean Thompson

Let me just put it there: This is one of the most beautiful, sorrowful, light-infused love stories I’ve ever read. Some stories you walk around with for good. The Fifth Womanwill be one of them. Nona Caspers will change the way you see. Can a reader ask for more?.” —Peter Orner

“The Fifth Woman is stealthily astonishing from its first line to its last. Over the course of twenty-three connected short fictions, the writer marks out a trail of mourning that is both quite straightforward and miraculously layered, strange, and emotionally multifaceted. There is not a single sentence in these stories that is not as clear as water…. It is a wonderful book.”
―Stacey D’Erasmo, from the Introduction

The stories in The Fifth Woman recall the fabulist tales of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya and Kelly Link. In exquisitely rendered sentences, Nona Caspers pushes at the borders of the surreal while exploring the fine lines separating love and loss, memory and desire. She has written a book to be savored.
―May-lee Chai, author of Dragon Chica and Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories. 

“Grief alters the world in ways that are both expected and less so. The Fifth Woman is a story of love, loss, and carrying on, in language that is always precise and often transporting. There is sadness here but also acute observation and magical happenings. Nona Caspers is a true original.”
―Jean L. Thompson

"The Fifth Woman is an exquisite, breathtaking, exquisitely crafted book that plumbs the depths of what it means to love, to grieve, and to be human. Caspers masterfully captures the power hidden in ordinary moments, and the everyday mysteries that shape our lives. The Fifth Woman is singular, and profoundly moving." 
―Carolina De Robertis, author of The Gods of Tango

Author

Nona Caspers is the author of Little Book of Days (Spuyten Duyvil, 2009) and Heavier Than Air (University of Massachusetts Press, 2008), which was honored with the AWP’s Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction and listed as a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her work has been supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a San Francisco Arts Commission grant, a LAMBDA Literary Award nomination, and the Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award, among other awards. Stories have appeared in numerous literary reviews, including Kenyon ReviewGlimmer TrainCimmaron ReviewBlack Warrior, and The Sun. She is a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University and lives in San Francisco.