Bette Howland (Author) Yiyun Li (Introduction by)

Product Details

$26.00  $23.92
Public Space Books
Publish Date
January 12, 2021
5.45 X 8.25 X 0.75 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Bette Howland (1937-2017) published three books in her lifetime: W-3, and the story collections Blue in Chicago and Things to Come and Go. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1984, after which she did not publish another book. Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, her selected stories, was published in 2019, restoring to the canon the work of a remarkable writer. She was born and raised in Chicago.

Yiyun Li's books include Where Reasons End, which received the 2019 PEN/Jean Stein Award; the essay collection Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life; and the novels The Vagrants and Must I Go. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, and Windham-Campbell Prize, among other honors, she teaches at Princeton University.


Bette Howland wrote a book I thought was impossible to write.
--Yiyun Li

Howland tracks our madnesses and oddnesses.... Her work lies in a borderland between sociology and poetry.

This book's singularity and strength derive not only from the writing itself... but above all from Bette Howland's unusual angle of vision: she writes as if she were a participant-observer, a novelist-anthropologist in a strange, often perplexing new place.

[Her] sentences continue to beat with a stylish percussion and a glowing heart.

A compassionate, trenchant, and hilarious ethnographer of eccentricities and dysfunction.

Howland's powers of observation are like military-grade weapons.
--University of Chicago Magazine

A master of silences, of the unsaid, of what cannot be addressed.