Runner-up, 2016 Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest
Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home, a collection of flash fiction, explores the lives of small-town girls, of men and women stuck in time and place. A ten-year-old girl finds Jesus at the county fair; a used-car salesman dreams of leaving town the night of his ten-year reunion; a group of girls learn the extent of their power and cruelty at a sleepover. The characters in these stories are alive with restlessness and nostalgia, longing for different lives, for the lovers and mothers that left them behind.
Praise for Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home:
"Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home delivers on its title with wonderfully knowing stories at once generous, intimate, and transporting. In her assured yet effortless style, Shasta Grant extends a hand to a reader, drawing us into the private worlds of poolside mothers, sleepover girls, men left behind. Her stories may span only a few pages but tap the range of human emotion, thanks to her gimlet eye, knack for precision and crisp, clear voice that will stay with you long after you finish reading —like a close friend.”
— Sara Lippmann, 2016 Turnbuckle Chapbook Judge, author of Doll Palace
“Shasta Grant offers us a delightful collection full of swimming pools, sports, high schools, motherhood and girlhood. She’s gifting us little nostalgia-tinted stories of sticky, awkward young love, friendships and hunger. Grant, herself, is a gift and Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home is a chapbook treasure that punches and glitters.”
—Leesa Cross-Smith, editor of WhiskeyPaper and author of
Every Kiss A War and Whiskey & Ribbons
"In Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home, Shasta Grant brings to life the outliers and misfits of a small town stuck in time. Grant knows her people. She knows their hearts, their longings, and imperfections. And in these deft and vivid stories, you will come to know them too. This is accomplished and unforgettable storytelling by a master of the flash fiction form."
—Kathy Fish, author of Rift (with Robert Vaughan) and Together We Can Bury It
"Apropos of its title, Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home is a collection of characters equal parts begging and refusing to be gathered up, aching to be both brought home but also to escape. Characters dream of watching stoplights recede in their side view mirrors, they confuse hunger for others with hunger for a bright future. The beauty in these stories is their ability to capture both the magic and the trick of nostalgia, the optimism and pessimism both. You find yourself—I found myself—simultaneously remembering those outsiders from your youth who you at various times judged or looked up to or didn’t know what to make of, and seeing ourselves in them."
—Aaron Burch, author of Stephen King's The Body and Backswing and editor of Hobart
Reviews for Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home
--Al Kratz, Medium
--Jude Higgins, Bath Flash Fiction Award