When Trying to Return Home

Stories

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On Sale: | $27

9781640095687 | Hardcover 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 272 pages Buy it Now

On Sale: | $14.99

9781640095694 | Ebook | 272 pages

Book Description

A dazzling debut collection spanning a century of Black American and Afro-Latino life in Puerto Rico, Pittsburgh, Louisiana, Miami, and beyond—and an evocative meditation on belonging, the meaning of home, and how we secure freedom on our own terms

Profoundly moving and powerful, the stories in When Trying to Return Home dig deeply into the question of belonging. A young woman is torn between overwhelming love for her mother and the need to break free from her damaging influence during a desperate and disastrous attempt to rescue her brother from foster care. A man, his wife, and his mistress each confront the borders separating love and hate, obligation and longing, on the eve of a flight to San Juan. A college student grapples with the space between chivalry and machismo in a tense encounter involving a nun. And in 1930s Louisiana, a woman attempting to find a place to call her own chances upon an old friend at a bar and must reckon with her troubled past.

Forming a web of desires and consequences that span generations, McCauley’s Black American and Afro–Puerto Rican characters remind us that these voices have always been here, occupying the very center of American life—even if we haven’t always been willing to listen.

About the Author

Praise For This Book

The Week, A Most Anticipated Book of 2023
People en Español, A Most Anticipated Books of the Year
One of Electric Literature's Books by Women of Color to Read This Year

"One of the Best New Books to Read in 2023." —Today

"McCauley's outstanding collection of stories will beguile and intrigue you . . . Equally tender and sharp, gentle and defiant, delicate and resilient." —Karla Strand, Ms.

"Admiringly gutsy and tender, with flashes of poetry . . . What can’t McCauley do? A writer to watch." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"McCauley’s explosive debut collection crackles with moments of honesty, upheaval, and longing among families . . . Each story is a treasure." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Powerful, propulsive, and at the same time, tender, the stories in When Trying to Return Home overflow with unforgettable characters and voices. A stunning debut! —Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

"Singular in power, beauty, wisdom, and depth, these stories blend razor sharp social commentary with an uncanny insight into the human experience. Jennifer Maritza McCauley introduces herself as a writer to behold with wonder." —Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of On the Rooftop

"McCauley is a powerful literary medium, able to speak in the voices of an astonishing range of characters, and to make us feel their presence in the room." —Debra Dean, bestselling author of The Madonnas of Leningrad and The Mirrored World

"In When Trying To Return Home live a cast of some of the most memorable characters and predicaments I've encountered in fiction. These interlinked stories will introduce you to a mother who fights to keep her two children close to her; a nun who considers her options for the future and her boisterous, ever-protective sister; a boy who meets a discarded family member; an adoptive mother whose will angers her heirs––just to name some characters. Jennifer Maritza McCauley is an incredibly gifted writer and I can't wait to see what she shares with us next." —De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of Decent People

"This collection is a gorgeous kaleidoscope, audacious and wise, capturing and releasing the ways that love assaults us. McCauley’s stories will split your heart, but they will also, lovingly, fuse it back together." —Ivelisse Rodriguez, author of PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction finalist Love War Stories