October 6, 2017
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
.85 Pounds (US)
$24.95 USD
v2.1 Reference

Freak Weather


From a nurse who sees a rattlesnake in the pediatric ICU to an animal control officer convinced she's found her abducted daughter in the house of a dog hoarder, the thirteen stories in Freak Weather are as unpredictable as the atmospheric changes that give this collection its name. With dark and raucous humor, Mary Kuryla creates female characters who, at times, combine a violent urgency with lack of introspection as they struggle to get out from under the thumb of a perceived authority. The intricate language is inseparable from the narrator's conviction; the characters lie with such bravado they're soon tangled up in their own webs. This brand of romanticism in a female character is little tolerated, and Freak Weather's mission—Kuryla's artistic mission overall—is to scratch at the intolerable. Call it bad instructions for moral behavior.

About the Author

Mary Kuryla has been awarded The Pushcart Prize and the Glimmer Train Short Fiction Prize. Her stories have been adapted into award-winning films that premiered at the Sundance and Toronto International film festivals.


"Freaky weather—or the kind of weather that brings out freaks? Either interpretation makes sense for this imaginative, unpredictable debut short story collection."—People

"There is a feral quality to some of these stories, an attitude that is truly startling. The language is perfectly matched to the not-so-conflicted women living off venison, weed, and their husband's paychecks. The territory here is sometimes disturbing; the treatment of these people who are in over their heads is always both tough and surprisingly moving. The 'action' resides as much in the brisk, fresh language as in what these people conjure in a crisis. Ultimately, the author delivers stories unlike anyone else's."—Amy Hempel, Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction judge and author of The Dog of the Marriage: Stories

"This is what they mean by muscular prose, but with lithe muscles, quick and bright, and dueling senses of swagger and grimness. A striking and satisfying debut."—Amy Bender, author of The Color Master 

"What a memorable, witty, imaginative collection this is, beautifully modulated, extravagant yet precise. Each story is startling and expertly hewn, with a perfect balance of toughness and whimsy."—Joanna Scott, author of De Potter's Grand Tour

"There is much beguiling strangeness in the pages of Freak Weather, but there are no strangers: you know all of these people. They're the slightly scary neighbors, the folks who talk a little too loudly in the convenience store, the children who act older than they should. You've wanted to know about their lives, and now they're telling you everything. Simultaneously appalling and gorgeous."—Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy & Other Stories

"A powerful collection of stories about women who are unapologetically themselves—often struggling, sometimes drunk, sometimes irresponsible, but in all cases painfully human and alive. Each of these pieces opens a window onto a life and then, before we have time to explain to ourselves how we're not like that, abruptly slams it shut, leaving us exquisitely off balance."—Brian Evenson, author of The Warren

"The stories in Mary Kuryla's Freak Weather are by turns disturbing and astonishing, blending the desire for a better life with the quicksand of situational reality . . . These tales twist until they become something undeniable, and Kuryla's commitment to letting her characters make mistakes without pausing to consider their actions is something rarely seen in fiction."—Electric Literature

"When Mary Kuryla's female protagonists persist, resist, and simply continue to exist, you can't help following them, which is the point . . . [I]n 2017, the year of #MeToo and #Time'sUp—nothing could be more appropriate than to have awarded the AWP Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction to Mary Kuryla."—Jim Hicks, Massachusetts Review
University of Massachusetts Press
Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction

9781625343079 : freak-weather-kuryla
180 Pages
$24.95 USD

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