"These fierce, nasty stories are the flagellant's skin,
marked by her own hand, Catholic from birth. Maybe this is what
happens when young girls are raised in the only remaining, fully
functioning, mystery religion. Lancelotta writes like an angel, perhaps
because she was trained to be one."
stories come on hot and sharp and salty, but under the sensuousness lurks
a bladelike clarity. Her young women are grappling with more than just the
dangerous, soul-shaking mysteries of sex and intimacy and adulthood. At
the heart of HERE IN THE WORLD lies an even more troubling core of
loneliness and loss, of wisdom earned at a high price."
stories are precisely conceived and exquisitely rendered. Dark and
intricate, smoky and alluring, HERE IN THE WORLD delivers on its
--Madison Smartt Bell
fiction is maddened by Catholicism and charged by a sexuality that is
raucous, disturbed, frisky, fun, raffish, and refined. In the old
Frankenstein-meets-Werewolf motif, it's O'Connor meets Hawkes."
"It's all here. The soiled
sister. Rough sex with a blind man. Mother gone mad. Father dying. All of
it. The irresistible brother-in-law. What's left after a husband. Prayer,
screaming. Skin carved with initals or bitten by horseshoe crabs. Bars
from Carolinas to Delaware. Women you must never be. Here. Dressed up like
a babe. Half agreeing. Mystical, scary stories that are all hers. Severe,
brilliant, Victoria Lancelotta. Who keeps the flame fixed on high burn.
Who is a genius of holy beauty, of ecstasy and dread."
"...By writing with such visceral delight
about scent, taste and physical sensation, she leaves readers no doubt
as to our fleshy residence ''here in the world."....In this
plainspoken yet evocative prose, Lancelotta directly channels the
vibratory hum of the senses to make us wince at each bruise and savor
each bite.... Lancelotta's use of this
potent symbol in a gritty, working-class courtship rite deliciously
updates, for instance, the spectacles of martyrdom so common in
Renaissance painting.....This murky brew of
guilt, forbidden knowledge and punishment percolates at a low,
skillfully controlled temperature. Like the blade-wielding mugger that
her narrator imagines to be an architect, Lancelotta infuses injury with
a sense of design....There's something brave in Lancelotta's resistance to
propulsive storytelling. It may be commercially damning praise, but
these elegant vignettes have the revelatory pith found in the best prose
poetry. The stories in ''Here in the World'' press us, face first, into
our own needs, into the raw fact of the body's desires and its limits."
--The New York Times Book Review
Here to read the full review)
The women in Victoria Lancelotta's debut
collection of stories live in the space between memory and desire, where
what they see around them and what they know to be true can be vastly
different things. They live in a world where time is malleable, stones
are food, the body is an altar, and the confessional is a difficult
paradise. Here a blind man's stick and a church carnival offer equal
opportunities for redemption, and the family is the last place to look
edgy, brilliant, and disturbing, Here in the World tells us stories of
women who, however flawed or compromised, are fierce and unforgettable.
Rights: Contact Lukeman