It has occurred to me often that I should tell a small portion of the world about Sara Pritchard. I'd like to tell a large portion of the world about an author whom I believe to be one of the most gifted writers of English Literature—and I reluctantly include American Literature because, well, she's an American—I'd like the entire world to know about her . . . but my web-reach is hardly enormous.
Yet write I shall: a short missive to tell you about Sara and her wonderful books, numbering three really major ones at the moment. Reminding ourselves that quantity counts for little, I'd say that these three volumes have given me at least as much pleasure as Charles Dickens, Margaret Atwood, and Frank Herbert. That's some rarefied company to be in.
She's written a lot of other kinds of books too. Click on the book covers below to get an idea of her output. She is a true creator, and artist of the highest order.
Her books are available at Amazon, and they are worth the money to buy them and the time to read them . . . and oh, are they worth it.
Sara Pritchard is the author of the novel-in-stories, "Crackpots", which won the Bakeless Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and the linked-story collection, "Lately."
Her newest story collection, "Help Wanted: Female", was published by Etruscan Press in July 2013.
What is one thing that Sara does very well? She writes great books! She does a heck of a lot of other things too!
The books look like something like this, but bigger and real, pages and all (click a title to buy):
And here's some writing on her web site, a sample of her talent. You'll find it here. It's an excerpt from a story called Two Studies in Entropy, the first story in her most recent book, "Help Wanted: Female"
Sara "grew up" (ha ha ha!) in Northeastern Pennsylvania (Hazleton/Wilkes-Barre area); Rochester, New York; Denville, New Jersey; and Ocracoke, North Caroline, but has lived in West Virginia for a really long time (somewhere between 35 and 40 years, give or take a few years). Her stories and essays have been published in literary magazines including New Letters, Green Mountains Review, Northwest Review, Tusculum Review, Spittoon, and elsewhere. She teaches in the Wilkes Low-Residency Creative Writing Program and lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, with her husband, author Kevin Oderman, and their dogs, Fay and Figgy (aka, Brownie).
Here's an interview with the author herself.
Contact Sara at pritchard.sara at gmail dot com . . . she is quite contactable.
Amazon Customer Review
5.0 out of 5 stars: The Terrible Challenge of an Original Voice, September 1, 2003
By Biggest Fan (I thought I was —JW) "Diane Meier Delaney"
This review is from: Crackpots: A Novel (Paperback)
Marketing is a funny business. What's seen as hype is often an honest attempt to cut through the competitive quagmire and alert a real, breathing, human being about the fact that there is something out there, poised and ready to fulfill him. That book promotion falls back on lines like, "The New Salinger" or "The New Mailer" uncovers a sad fact about publishing: The business of communications rarely communicates effectively itself.
If it could, you would hear about Crackpots on late night TV. Every dinner party would be talking about Ruby Reese and her trombone and her brilliantly remembered, perfectly detailed 1950's childhood. Somewhere between fantasy and memoir, these pages are full of the kind of stuff your head holds on to when your brain can't take in a moments more pain. The wrapper from a candy or the smell of caps from a child's gun can take on an importance almost equal to the death of a parent when we are pushed to a limit of emotional overload. It's the way we protect ourselves from feeling too much. All of us have experienced it but no one I've ever read has captured it as deftly or with more lyrical resonance than Sara Pritchard does here in Crackpots.
There have been no big newspaper ads for Crackpots. There is no bookstore display with words like 'gripping' or 'riveting' in bold type splashed all over the cardboard. Obviously, the publishing machine has no idea what to do with a talent of this dimension.
Pritchard is not the New Salinger or the New Mailer or the New AAMilne. She is not the New Anything. She is very much herself and hooray for that. Crackpots is a work of the most tender and delicate personality. It is a completely unique voice and the voice of a natural storyteller who lets the reader know how the past felt and smelled and tasted. If there are moments when you wonder how much of this tale could have been true, you don't wonder for a minute that whatever the facts, this is certainly how it felt.
The New York Times has hailed the arrival of Pritchard on to the national literary scene and we join them in doing so. Now, if only someone would tell the rest of America!