Always Happy Hour: Stories
A "bracingly strong" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) collection brimming with savage Southern charm, Always Happy Hour propels Mary Miller to new heights. Claustrophobic and lonesome, acerbic and magnetic, her characters seek understanding in the most unlikely places--a dilapidated foster home where love is a liability, a trailer park laden with a history of bad decisions, and the empty corners of a dream home bought after a bitter divorce. "Full of wit, bite, and the boundless intelligence of their author" (Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds), these stories evoke the particular gritty comfort found in bad habits as hope turns to dust, and they prove yet again Miller's essential role in American fiction.
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Somewhere between the old trope of the fallen woman and the unctuousness of the likable heroine, the young narrators of Miller's searching stories inhabit the middle space known as reality. . . . Anyone who's faltered on the way to success and contentment might find solace in the do-gooder in "Big Bad Love," or the boozy, boyfriend-enabled composition teacher in the title story.--Boris Kachka
Some of the women in this collection of short stories are spiraling; some are simply stuck. But they all have one thing in common: relationships in varying degrees of WTF? We can relate.
Readers will find themselves riveted...The 16 stories in this collection...feel both homey and exotic, limning lives at once familiar and distinctly their own. Like a two-for-one drink special or a boxful of beer, this bracingly strong collection may prove intoxicating.
I fell into this book like it was a night of drinking. I sipped, I laughed, I had some more, I got lonely, I danced a little, I downed the rest, I wanted to cry, I stayed up late closing it out and I'm a wreck and I regret nothing.--Daniel Handler, author of We Are Pirates and Why We Broke Up
Enjoyable...a meditation on the stories a person tells herself.--Hilary Moss
Deftly crafted.--Joyce Carol Oates
Each of these stories has its own pulse. For anyone who's ever looked for love in all the wrong places, this shoebox full of beating hearts is for you.--Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot: Stories
Taken as a whole, this harrowing yet ultimately enjoyable collection is less about the conventions of storytelling--exposition, climax, denouement--and more of a meditation on the stories a person tells herself.--Martha Sheridan
The proximity to [Miller's] characters that her crystalline, unfiltered prose allows...will draw readers in immediately, and entirely.