In her debut collection, Emily W. Pease is at work redefining the short story.
Let Me Out Here explores the underbellies and strange desires of our neighbors, our loved ones, ourselves. A co-ed takes up with a with a mysterious cab driver who’s been calling every night on her dormitory’s hall phone; a family isolated by their faith hikes to a waterfall in search of healing; a mother sets her balcony on fire after an awkward family dinner; a woman befriends the snakes her preacher boyfriend keeps in their shed. This revealing collection offers a deep empathy for people doing the best they can, despite themselves.
Spread over varied landscapes of the South and offering surprising moments of raw revelation, the characters here find themselves at crossroads or alone on an empty street at night. With Let Me Out Here, Pease joins the ranks of Mary Gaitskill, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Kelly Link, and adds to their tradition a deft, singular style and a voice as darkly funny as it is exacting.
Let Me Out Here is the 2018 winner of the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize.