Lara’s debut story collection, Animal Wife, won the Red Hen Press Fiction Award, judged by Ann Hood, and is forthcoming in 2020.
“In villages where women bore most of the weight of a constricted life, witches flew by night on broomsticks,” said Italo Calvino of the way imagination bridges the gap between everyday existence and an idealized alternative. The 15 stories of Animal Wife are unified by girls and women who cross this threshold seeking liberation from family responsibilities, from societal expectations, from their own minds.
A girl born with feathers undertakes a quest for the mother who abandoned her. An indecisive woman drinks Foresight, only to become stymied by the futures branching before her. A woman becomes psychologically trapped in her car. A proofreader cultivates a cage fighting alter ego. A girl acts on her desire for a childhood friend as a monster draws closer to the shore. A widow invites a bear to hibernate in her den.
Many of the stories from Animal Wife have been published in literary magazines, including StoryQuarterly, Hunger Mountain, The Massachusetts Review, The Normal School, River Styx, and Paper Darts, among others.
“The stories in Lara Ehrlich’s Animal Wife are gorgeous and heartbreaking. They glide into each other, refract, and expand outward again, echoing seasons and change and longing. They cause astonishment and wonder. They ask: what does it mean to be in a body? What do we ever know about girlhood? It is a complex and rewarding read.”—Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things
“From the first sentence Animal Wife grabbed me and never let go. Sensual and intelligent, with gorgeous prose, it made me dizzy with its exploration and illumination of the inner and outer lives of girls and women.”—New York Times best-selling author Ann Hood
“Ehrlich draws on the dark undersides of fairy tales to portray the growth, strangeness, and ferocity of childhood with haunting beauty. Each story takes us deeper into the rabbit hole: with mythical monsters and Ovidian transformations, girls discover their own strength and darkness. As the women in these stories cast about for freedom, they become dangerous beings themselves; Ehrlich reminds us how thin the line is between violence and desire. She is a master observer of the magic and mystery that lurk at the edge of our lives. This collection is the arrival of a startling and undeniable new talent in the world of genre-breaking fiction.”—Blair Hurley, author of The Devoted
“Ehrlich has compiled a new wave of fairy tales, all swamp-mossy and feathered.”—Hunger Mountain