Guernica Magazine

The Messy and the Vulnerable: Catherine Lacey

The author on her new collection of short stories, finding joy in the writing process, dating creative people, and the role of nonliterary influences in her life. The post The Messy and the Vulnerable: Catherine Lacey appeared first on Guernica.
Photo by Willy Somma.

Catherine Lacey’s work focuses on women who live unapologetically in the face of misunderstanding and social expectations. Her protagonists are happy to walk to the beat of their own drum in a way that is both vicious and joyful: never quite surrendering to the incompleteness of love, but doing their best to find the life they want. Her novels, Nobody is Ever Missing and The Answers, explore the intricacies of finite marriage, companionship, and obsession. In her new story collection, Certain American States, Lacey delves into the microcosms of these issues while unpacking the value systems we place around friends, education, siblings, parents, and monogamy.

In “ur heck box,” a daughter tries to connect with her mother after she moves to the same city, vacillating between hatred of and appreciation for her mother’s encroachment on her life, which the daughter has done her best to build in spite of her upbringing. In “Small Differences,” a woman has an ongoing affair with a strange, inscrutable friend, sacrificing lovers and otherwise fine relationships in order to casually sleep with a man she could never really love. “The Four Immeasurables and Twenty New Immeasurables” dissects the difference between our own spiritual quest and the lies that get in the way. In each story, Lacey gently unpacks these heady topics and raises

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