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From the author of the “enthralling” (New York Times Book Review) and “beautiful” (Washington Post) debut novel The Vexations comes an exciting new story collection that moves boldly between the real and the surreal.
Following her “marvelous” (Wall Street Journal) first novel, Caitlin Horrocks returns with a much-anticipated collection of short stories. In her signature, genre-defying style, she explodes our notions of what a story can do and where it can take us.
Life Among the Terranauts demonstrates all the inventiveness that won admirers for Horrocks’s first collection. In “The Sleep,” reprinted in Best American Short Stories, residents of a town in the frigid Midwest decide to hibernate through the bitter winters. In the title story, half a dozen people move into an experimental biodome for a shot at a million dollars, if they can survive two years. And in “Sun City,” published in The New Yorker, a young woman meets her grandmother’s roommate in the wake of her death and attempts to solve the mystery of whether the two women were lovers.
As the Boston Globe noted of her first collection, Horrocks is a master of “wild yet delicately handled satire,” a “sprightly heartbreak” in which she is able to “mingle a note of tenderness in the desolation.” With its startling range—from Norwegian trolls to Peruvian tour guides—Life Among the Terranauts once again dazzles readers, cementing Horrocks’s reputation as one of the premier young writers of our time.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


“Vigorous and supremely crafted, Horrocks’s second collection explores human frailties, desires, and mechanisms for survival... Horrocks’s linguistic finesse and narrative range is impressive, and she brings incisive humor, pathos, and wit to her characters and their predicaments. The result is an immersive and engaging work that astutely captures the complexities of the human condition.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Elegant glimpses into the lives of lonely people… A writer known for her impeccable craft… Horrocks’ stories feel classic and melancholy, like a concerto in a minor key.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Perfect for fans of George Saunders and Karen Russell…This dazzling collection of short stories will be pinging around the minds of readers long after the back cover is closed… Horrocks nails the short format by building easy-to-enter and hard-to-forget worlds... Each story is as engrossing as if it were a full-length novel, and just as sad to leave.”
Courtney Eathorne, Booklist
“These stories—inventive, outrageous, exquisite—are my kind of fun. How are we supposed to live in this world? Life Among the Terranauts will help show us the way. I’m in love with the brilliant stories in this book.”
Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of the national bestseller Once Upon a River
“Holy smokes! Caitlin Horrocks has written a perfect story collection of astronomical range. It’s been a very long time since I’ve come across stories as brilliant, bold, odd, and incandescent as these."
Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus
“In her third book—and with her literary powers only heightened—Horrocks has crafted an accomplished, beautiful collection of stories with a streak of the surreal. Life Among the Terranauts is wise, worldly, and inventive, moving across both time and continents. Horrocks has proven herself a master of the story form.”
Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise
“Caitlin Horrocks is one of America’s finest story writers. I marvel at the language in Life Among the Terranauts, which expands, varies, and never slips, and at the book’s gaze, exact and exacting, which seems able to inhabit every denizen of the world. The humanity contained in these stories stuns and lingers.”
Marie-Helene Bertinoc, author of 2 A.M. at the Cat¿s Pajamas
Praise for The Vexations-
"Marvelous...The Vexations wonderfully embellishes the world through which Satie wandered like some kind of marooned alien visitor."—Wall Street Journal
New York Times Book Review
"A wrenching portrait of overconfidence as a destructive force."
The Atlantic
"Vibrant...Deeply affecting...Horrocks deftly plumbs the singular zeal--and occasional neuroses--that drive artists toward achievement as well as self-destruction...The Vexations explores grand themes with grace and conviction."—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"In this melodic tale, first novelist Horrocks reimagines the rich ferment of fin de siècle Paris."
O, The Oprah Magazine
"An engrossing debut...What's most extraordinary about The Vexations is the writing itself...The novel reads like a finely composed piece of music, swiftly interweaving winsome sentences with period details and the characters who lived them."—Rachel Duboff, Los Angeles Review of Books
"I've rarely seen a debut as buoyant and inspired as Caitlin Horrocks's The Vexations...This is a dazzling first novel from a writer to watch."—Paula Mclain, author of The Paris Wife
"A gorgeous, sensitive, deeply immersive novel."
Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies
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