Stella Maris: And Other Key West Stories

Michael Carroll (Author)


"One of the best social observers in American fiction." --John Freeman, Literary Hub

"Mr. Carroll's world is a little vicious, slippery in its sexuality . . . strangely reminiscent of the hootier, hard-candy end of the Tennessee Williams spectrum. It is flat-out odd, fun, and seeming true." --Padgett Powell

When Cuban fisherman first spotted the Key West lighthouse floating in Florida waters, they called her Stella Maris, Star of the Sea. It's a beacon that draws people from everywhere seeking the end-of-the-line bohemian oasis that can still be found amidst the condo share towers, chain stores, and Redneck Riviera clientele. And it's a mecca for gay men and the women who love them. Sue Kaufman Prize- winning author Michael Carroll knows the territory intimately. His stories wind in and out of the bars and guesthouses and lives of this singular paradise: a memorial for a drag queen held at the vicar's Victorian leads to uneasy encounters; two southern sisters on a cruise ship holiday are up against the ravages of alcohol, estrangement, and deadly weather. Newly divorced gay men (already a phenomenon) lick their wounds and bask in the island's lasting social twilight. At the all-male, clothing-optional resort, guys of all ages fall into one another's paths, enjoy themselves as they please, and surprise one another on their views and preconceptions. Stella Maris is about the verities of illness and death. The past and its prisoners, AIDS, the young and not so young man's realization of his own mortality. It's about the unpredictable nature of life, and of survival. It's about new beginnings and final recognitions.

Product Details

$17.00  $15.64
Turtle Point Press
Publish Date
April 09, 2019
4.9 X 0.9 X 7.5 inches | 0.7 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Michael Carroll's debut story collection, Little Reef, won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from American Academy of Arts and Letters and was shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction and the Publishing Triangle Award. His work has appeared in Ontario Review, Boulevard, The Yale Review, Southwest Review, Open City, and The New Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, he is married to writer Edmund White and lives in New York City.


"Poignant and potent." --Publishers Weekly
"Interconnected tales full of lust, longing and death. . . . Carroll's spare but evocative prose casts a haunting spell." --Shelf Awareness
"[Carroll] says out loud what people are thinking, doing, or long to do. His stories are raw, rare, beautiful. They remind me of Capote at the height of his powers, or a gay Eve Babitz. In Stella Maris, Carroll swims way out past the buoys and comes back triumphant." --Leo Racicot, Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"An alluring, unapologetically audacious collection . . . Carroll calls just enough attention to each of these characters before they quickly disappear, leaving their fate and purpose to the reader's imagination." --Edge Media Network
"[Michael Carroll's] new collection follows a similar path [to his last] but presents work that is more challenging, yet just as good. . . . [It] is varied enough to offer a unique gem in each story." --queerguru
"[In] one of the most eagerly awaited books of the year [set in] the 'beautiful town, Key West, the last bastion, the place of the just-misfits, ' award-winning gay writer Michael Carroll makes the political personal." --Pride 2019 Reading List, Peach ATL
"Marvelous. Michael Carroll's stories, keenly--even cruelly--observant, occupy the verges of love and death where the truest and most recklessly aware emotions abide." --Joy Williams
"Michael Carroll openly insists that American manners make way for the unsayable, showing us over and over that our reticence got us into trouble in the first place. His superb Key West stories are the florid mirror of our national evasions, doubling their comic revelations into pathos, and catching us unexpectedly reflected in the erotic trance of self-invention." --Manuel Muñoz, author of What You See in the Dark and The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue
"Michael Carroll is one of my favorite writers--now more than ever, the grace with which he refuses to lie is a rare form of joy. He is ruthless, funny, clear-eyed, and dangerous in a way that America should thank its lucky stars for." --Zachary Lazar, author of Vengeance and winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters John Updike Award
"Stella Maris is a collection of deliciously uncategorizable, candid, and wise stories." --Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
"No polite, recycled moves. Mess, tenderness, lust, rage, bewilderment: all here, and all-the-way alive. Michael Carroll is writing at the height of his powers and Stella Maris is a major achievement." --Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship
"Michael Carroll writes with fierce originality about sex between men, love between men and women, and issues of class and money. In this new collection his sparkling sentences, unflinching gaze, and wit and wisdom stake out new territory for us to explore and enjoy." --Sheila Kohler, author of Once We Were Sisters and Cracks