She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
I know lots of things now that I’m dead. Peter from Apartment Two has a spastic bladder. My former boss Morgan keeps her toenails in a gold jewellery box. My brother and his wife are trying for a baby. I always excuse myself before things get too heated.
I don’t know much about my mother yet. I am waiting for grief to catch her, but she mostly seems ashamed-of her body, of what it made.
A mother cuts her daughter’s hair because her own starts falling out. A woman leaves her boyfriend because he reminds her of a corpse; another undergoes brain surgery to try to live more comfortably in higher temperatures. A widow physically transforms into her husband so that she does not have to grieve.
In She Is Haunted, these renditions of the author search for recognition and connection, and, more than anything else, small moments of empathy. But in what world will she move beyond her haunted past and find compassion for herself?
With piercing insights into transnational Asian identity, intergenerational trauma and grief, the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships, the inexplicable oddities of female friendship, and the love of a good dog, Paige Clark has crafted an exquisite, moving and sophisticated debut work of fiction. Full of wit and humour, She Is Haunted announces an entrancing new literary voice as contemporary as it is unique.
‘The real meets the ethereal here and becomes something all its own. Clark is the best new writer in Australia and this book is like nothing else.’ Robert Lukins2, author of The Everlasting Sunday
‘The stories in She is Haunted grapple with a mix of timeless human problems and uniquely contemporary dilemmas: grief, illness, identity, and heartbreak, but also who gets custody of the dog after a break-up, bureaucratic responses to deeply personal relationship issues, and the politics of food. Paige Clark writes with wit, warmth and nuance, using precise, playful language, giving us a collection of (sometimes embarrassingly) relatable characters, sneaky insights and surprising bursts of joy.’ Emily Maguire2, author of Love Objects and An Isolated Incident
‘Paige Clark’s stories contain worlds within pages. Like Carmen Maria Machado, she takes ideas and runs with them into strange, often uneasy places. From the ordinary to the bizarre, these compelling stories reveal biting truths about race, relationships and life.’ Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen2, writer and critic
‘A stunning collection of short stories about identity, connection and trying to make sense of our modern world. Paige Clark is a star.’ Hannah-Rose Yee2, journalist and writer
‘A wondrous spirit animates SHE IS HAUNTED. In sentences of bracing snap and clarity, Clark’s stories delight and amuse, even as they expose tender truths and secrets. An astonishing debut.’ Wells Tower2, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned