Prose

Fiction

desire005

“Whether tragic or comic, haunting or plaintive, realistic or fantastic, these are extraordinary tales told with rare mastery.”
–Ron Hansen

“These stories have the spin and dazzle of exploded poems.  Theoretically sophisticated and technically accomplished, they use fresh and quirky humor to illuminate, in unexpected and often startling lights, the complicated ambiguities of women’s waking and dreaming lives.”
–Nancy Mairs

“The variety of voices and their presentations are a narratologist’s dream…[Brennan’s] literary offspring, and the community they create, will anger you, refuse to speak to you, and hold up a mirror to your face.  Not many storytellers are as fearless as Karen Brennan.”
American Book Review

“Transcendence and transformation lie at the heart of this anthology.  Brennan’s women are survivors, and they know that life will go on for them no matter what.  Life will be what they make it.”
Publishers Weekly

 

 

University of Massachusetts Press

garden003“Karen Brennan’s haunting, provocative stories remind me of the very best of Alice Munro, Doris Lessing, Angela Carter and Kafka…Karen Brennan’s fourteen stories are all disturbing but necessary epiphanies for our post-modern lives, revelations filled with scathing poignancy and perceptive melancholy, the kind of dark ineffable melancholy you find in the late poetry of Coleridge or Keats’ late poem, ‘To Autumn.'”
New Pages

“That rich sense of contentment, there among the ruins that testify to the beautiful mayhem of a beating heart, suffices for Brennan’s characters who in story after story are compelled to acknowledge how experience resists the tidy form of fiction itself.  Fictions that remind us what fiction can’t do even as they subtly confirm what it can do–these are marvelous, rewarding reading experiences.”
English Studies Forum

“The garden of stories found in Karen Brennan’s masterful collection The Garden in Which I Walk are plated like a crazed French topiary of dreams.  The forms are all expressionistic edges, fragments and fractures, adhering to the contours of wonder and desire.  There are angels in the angles and the topography breaks into the English country park paradox of landscapes—so groomed, so artificial—as to be more natural than nature.  This book is a human-made Eden of poetic posed and poised prose.”
–Michael Martone

“The stories in The Garden in Which I Walk are ten triumphs in a single volume.  Karen Brennan’s jazz-infused fiction demonically crashes us into our delusions, our states of despairing satiation and of happy hungering.  No writer since Angela Carter has brought readers such blasphemous, ribald visions of divine justice.”
–Kevin McIlvoy

Fiction Collective 2 (FC2)

Memoir

rachel004“Being with Rachel is for readers who want to be reminded why books matter….this is a tough and inspiring and heartbreaking book.”
–Antonya Nelson

“Being With Rachel is a bold attempt to understand not only what memory is, the narrative that makes up our lives, but what love is, what it means to stand by another person no matter what…”
–Mark Doty

“Spare, understated, emotionally honest, this beautifully crafted memoir succeeds on two levels:  both as an extraordinarily moving personal document and as a vital investigation into the nature of memory and narrative.”
–Andrea Barrett

“Being With Rachel is a book of mysteries….most profoundly, the mystery of an unbreakable love between other and daughter.”
–Charles Baxter

“This is an extraordinary book, a thrilling work of creative nonfiction…the book asks extremely serious philosophical questions at the same time that it relates a heartbreaking story of grief and love.  I admire it enormously.”
–David Shields

 

WW Norton & Company Inc.

“Being With Rachel is on every page a sharp and witty reminder that the face we see in the mirror conceals a mid more unknowable and oddly resourceful than any of us might imagine.”
Fourth Genre

“Brennan provides readers with a compelling narrative, conveying without bathos how she and her daughter met the challenges that resulted from Rachel’s terrible accident.”
Publishers Weekly

“…an engaging and well-written book…”
Library Journal

Being With Rachel is as much a story of trauma and survival as it is a lesson about how we “write” and “rewrite” ourselves.”
San Francisco Chronicle

Karen Brennan has written a painfully enlightening recollection of her and Rachel’s past and present that can have no resolution.  These stories of herself and of her daughter, of their friends, of the world at its worst and the world at its best can be categorized as self-help or inspirational or finally what it simply is: literature.”
The Commercial Appeal

“Inspiring and wise, this book illuminates the hope that we have the ability to transform and change the alchemy of our lives, to turn tragedy into opportunity…balanced with humor and wit, Brennan has created a beautiful story of triumph from tragedy.”
The Salt Lake City Weekly