When Trying to Return Home
by Jennifer Maritza McCauley
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Pub Date 07 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 30 Jan 2023
Catapult, Counterpoint Press, and Soft Skull Press, Counterpoint
Profoundly moving and powerful, the stories in When Trying to Return Home dig deeply into the question of belonging. A young woman is torn between overwhelming love for her mother and the need to break free from her damaging influence during a desperate and disastrous attempt to rescue her brother from foster care. A man, his wife, and his mistress each confront the borders separating love and hate, obligation and longing, on the eve of a flight to San Juan. A college student grapples with the space between chivalry and machismo in a tense encounter involving a nun. And in 1930s Louisiana, a woman attempting to find a place to call her own chances upon an old friend at a bar and must reckon with her troubled past.
Forming a web of desires and consequences that span generations, McCauley’s Black American and Afro–Puerto Rican characters remind us that these voices have always been here, occupying the very center of American life—even if we haven’t always been willing to listen.
“This collection is a gorgeous kaleidoscope, audacious and wise, capturing and releasing the ways that love assaults us. McCauley’s stories will split your heart, but they will also, lovingly, fuse it back together.”
—Ivelisse Rodriguez, author of PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction finalist Love War Stories
“McCauley is a powerful literary medium, able to speak in the voices of an astonishing range of characters, and to make us feel their presence in the room.”
—Debra Dean, bestselling author of The Madonnas of Leningrad and The Mirrored World
“In When Trying To Return Home live a cast of some of the most memorable characters and predicaments I've encountered in fiction. These interlinked stories will introduce you to a mother who fights to keep her two children close to her; a nun who considers her options for the future and her boisterous, ever-protective sister; a boy who meets a discarded family member; an adoptive mother whose will angers her heirs––just to name some characters. Jennifer Maritza McCauley is an incredibly gifted writer and I can't wait to see what she shares with us next.”
—De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of Decent People