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Out There: Stories (Random House)
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—The Millions
With a focus on the weird and eerie forces that lurk beneath the surface of ordinary experience, Kate Folk’s debut collection is perfectly pitched to the madness of our current moment. A medical ward for a mysterious bone-melting disorder is the setting of a perilous love triangle. A curtain of void obliterates the globe at a steady pace, forcing Earth’s remaining inhabitants to decide with whom they want to spend eternity. A man fleeing personal scandal enters a codependent relationship with a house that requires a particularly demanding level of care. And in the title story, originally published in The New Yorker, a woman in San Francisco uses dating apps to find a partner despite the threat posed by “blots,” preternaturally handsome artificial men dispatched by Russian hackers to steal data. Meanwhile, in a poignant companion piece, a woman and a blot forge a genuine, albeit doomed, connection.
Prescient and wildly imaginative, Out There depicts an uncanny landscape that holds a mirror to our subconscious fears and desires. Each story beats with its own fierce heart, and together they herald an exciting new arrival in the tradition of speculative literary fiction.
Kate Folk has written for publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Granta, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and Zyzzyva. She’s received support from the Headlands Center for the Arts, MacDowell, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Recently, she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University. She lives in San Francisco. Out There is her first book.
Lisa Locascio Nighthawk is a core faculty member in the Antioch University Los Angeles MFA in Creative Writing program and the executive director of the Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference. Her novel Open Me was published by Grove Atlantic in 2018.
Praise for Out There -
“One could fancy Kate Folk as the literary love child of Kafka and Camus and Bradbury, if Kafka and Camus and Bradbury were penning episodes of Black Mirror, but that still wouldn’t capture the blazing originality and exhilarating weirdness of her writing. From the moment you read these tales, you’ll know you’re in the presence of a singularly brilliant vision.”—Chang-Rae Lee
“An assortment of stories so sharp and ingenious you may cut yourself on them while reading, like a drawer full of the most beautiful knives—Out There goes onto my shelf of favorite collections.”—Kelly Link
“Kate Folk’s stories inhabit otherworldly realms where exquisite language and beguiling characters excavate the very nature of love and existence.”—Adam Johnson
“Extraordinary through-the-looking-glass tales, all delivered with a side of menace . . . Wonderfully weird and weirdly wonderful, Kate Folk is a dazzling talent.”—Karen Joy Fowler
“Wry, riveting, and ambitious, Out There manages to be both brilliantly inventive and emotionally resonant. Hilarious and unsettling, full of unforgettable voices and gleeful, exacting prose, this is a sharp and stylish debut.”—Kimberly King Parsons
“Kate Folk is a literary swordsmith of feline dexterity.”—Lisa Locascio
“The stories in this stunning debut are funny, fearless, and moving portraits of life shaped by the ever-widening shadow of technological progress.”—Alex McElroy
“This collection of internet gothic fiction delighted, unsettled, and moved me in the best possible way.”—Mary South
“With unassuming precision and casual beauty, these superbly crafted stories make uncanny meaning of our vacant moment.”—Sarah McColl
“A masterclass in eeriness and perception, Out There brings our world into chilly focus through an exquisitely distorted lens.”—Ayşegül Savaş
“Disturbing, alluring, dazzling, and creepy, Out There is a riveting collection that keeps you enthralled with every page.”—Claire North
“Kate Folk is a refreshing new voice, utterly original and deliciously twisted.”—Anna Bailey
“A wonderful absurdist collection that explores the vagaries of human connections . . . Perfectly balances compassion and caustics, and the author has an easy hand blending everyday terror with the humor that helps people swallow it. Folk impresses with her imagination as well as her insights.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Tightly constructed and spectacularly mind-bending [stories] ingeniously pair everyday challenges and outlandish predicaments, ranging from hilarious to terrifying.”—Booklist (starred review)
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