In these three deeply observed novellas, award-winning author David Nikki Crouse dramatizes the lives of women living in Interior Alaska. Each novella acts as an extended meditation on grief, loss, and the nature of imagination. Crouse’s usual storytelling gifts are on full display here, but the darkness found in past short story collections is balanced by images of stark beauty. In “Misfortune and Its Double,” a woman remembers—and manufactures—the story of an arduous cross-country drive that might not be entirely true. “A Rough Map of the Interior” follows a woman’s life from suicide attempt to hospitalization to a new kind of self-knowledge, and “Asmodeus Speaks” lingers on a Dungeon and Dragons roleplaying game in remote Fairbanks and its disruption when one of its players, a young Yupik man, goes missing.
While Crouse’s prize-winning collection of short fiction The Man Back There offered up insights into a kind of self-destructive masculinity, these novellas now sensitively and persuasively capture the inner landscapes of women struggling with grief and isolation. Trouble Will Save You is a unique and fully realized work from a keenly empathetic writer.
Praise for The Man Back There: “In this virtuoso collection of stories, David Crouse guides us directly to where the shadow lies—the disorienting loss, the surprising heartache, the forgotten wound—those inevitable areas of the psyche we all share and through which only truth, illuminated with a such a light touch here, can deliver us; The Man Back There is the work of the real thing.” —Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog
“I chose these stories because they made me feel. I felt the characters like I would feel a stranger in a room or on a bus with me, with an irrational sympathy more animal than moral in its nature.” —Mary Gaitskill, 2007 Mary McCarthy Prize judge
About the Author
David Nikki Crouse is professor of creative writing at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of Copy Cats, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and The Man Back There, winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize.
“A beautifully written and powerful series of novellas that work in tandem to explore sophisticated themes of both memory and the power, malleability, and unreliability of story.” —Andromeda Romano-Lax, author of Annie and the Wolves
“Highly original. These stories are well-paced, vividly dramatized, and emotionally resonant. Truly masterful storytelling from a contemporary master.” —Andrew Porter, author of The Theory of Light and Matter and In Between Days