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A House Is a Body

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Finalist for the 2021 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction


A House Is a Body will not simply be talked about as one of the greatest short story collections of the 2020s; it will change the way all stories—short and long—are told, written, and consumed. There is nothing, no emotion, no tiny morsel of memory, no touch, that this book does not take seriously. Yet, A House Is a Body might be the most fun I’ve ever had in a short story collection.” —Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

Dreams collide with reality, modernity with antiquity, and myth with identity in the twelve arresting stories of A House Is a Body. Set in the United States and India, Swamy’s characters grapple with motherhood, relationships, and their bodies to reveal small but intense internal moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.

In “Earthly Pleasures,” a young painter living alone in San Francisco begins a secret romance with one of India’s biggest celebrities, and desire and ego are laid bare. In “A Simple Composition,” a husband’s professional crisis leads to his wife’s discovery of a dark, ecstatic joy. And in the title story, an exhausted mother watches, hypnotized by fear, as a California wildfire approaches her home. Immersive and assured, provocative and probing, these are stories written with the edge and precision of a knife blade.

A House Is a Body introduces a bold and original voice in fiction, from a writer at the start of a stellar career.

Don't miss Shruti Swamy's debut novel, The Archer (available September 7, 2021), which has already been longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

ISBN-13: 9781643751450

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

Publication Date: 07-27-2021

Pages: 224

Product Dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)

Shruti Swamy is the author of the story collection A House Is a Body, which was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and was longlisted for the Story Prize. Her work has been published by the Paris Review and McSweeney’s and anthologized in the O. Henry Prize Stories. Her debut novel, The Archer, was published by Algonquin Books in September 2021 and has been longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She lives in San Francisco.