Three Key Short Story Collections, Sept. 2023, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

Collections from Kate Atkinson, Yiyun Li, and Vauhini Vara.

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Atkinson, Kate. Normal Rules Don’t Apply: Stories. Doubleday. Sept. 2023. ISBN 9780385549509. $28. lrg. prnt. SHORT STORIES

Costa Award–winning novelist Atkinson turns to short fiction with 11 interconnected stories whose characters don’t always act wisely or coherently. A secretary can’t let go of the job she just left, a queen makes a promise she knows she can’t keep, and a man makes a bet on a horse that may have talked to him—but maybe not.

Li, Yiyun. Wednesday’s Child: Stories. Farrar. Sept. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9780374606374. $27. SHORT STORIES

MacArthur Fellow Li follows up the multi-best-booked The Book of Goose with a collection that swings between desolate loss and unnerving closeness as a grieving woman touts up those departed, a professor gets creepily close to her hairdresser, and a woman receives twice-yearly emails from a mysterious man several states away. In these stories, small moments have big meanings, and big meaning break through the everyday. With a 20,000-copy first printing.

Vara, Vauhini. This Is Salvaged: Stories. Norton. Sept. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9780393541731. $26.95. SHORT STORIES

A driven woman seeks to leave her drinking behind so that she can become a better aunt. Two teenagers work as phone-sex operators in a bid for intimacy. An artist seeks to reconstruct a full-size Noah’s Ark, following biblical specifications. These and other characters seek meaning despite their rocky surroundings in a first collection that promises much after the success of The Immortal King Rao, Vara’s multi-best-booked debut.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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