“Today, everyone is lucky.”
- from “Carry Me Home, Sisters of Saint Joseph”
I wrote SAFE AS HOUSES, my debut collection of 8 stories, over the course of 9 years. Many of the stories are set in a kind of Philadelphia where unexpected and magic things are possible, for example, an alien girl can send notes on human beings back to her superiors, college friends can make a Church disappear, Bob Dylan can show up for Thanksgiving, a girl can go dancing with nuns, have dinner with the idea of her ex-boyfriend, or get sold a human heart during a seemingly run-of-the-mill afternoon.
Buy SAFE AS HOUSES
at one of my favorite indie bookstores, Greenlight Books,
at Powell’s Books,
at Barnes and Noble,
Here are a few nice things people have said about SAFE AS HOUSES:
“Marie-Helene Bertino’s stories are hilarious and heartbreaking and wildly inventive and her narrators are endlessly appealing and both fiercely proactive and stubbornly self defeating. That’s more than enough for me.”
Jim Shepard is a master storyteller and reader and teacher. You can buy one of his books here.
“Nothing about SAFE AS HOUSES feels safe at all. From the first remarkable story to the last, the author takes risks that left me gasping and applauding. This is affecting and inventive work, work that breaks your heart with humor and mends it with compassion. Again and again, Marie-Helene Bertino reminds us of exactly how much the short story can do, of how much it must do. Hers are among the finest I’ve read in a long, long while.”
– Bret Anthony Johnston
Bret Anthony Johnston is a brilliant story writer. You can find CORPUS CHRISTI, his wonderful collection of stories, here.
“When have I last read such highly original stories? With a surreal edge and a brilliant dark humor, SAFE AS HOUSES’s tales of daughterhood and its mishaps mark a staggeringly good debut.”
– Deb Olin Unferth
I’ve been a huge fan of Deb Olin Unferth’s for years. Her pieces are surprising, ear-splittingly innovative and heart-based enough to sock you right in the gut. Check some out right here.
Here is the cover, designed by the inspiring poet Mary Austin Speaker: