“Olivia Clare is pure literary dynamite . . . [She] writes with Carveresque clarity and bite and an elegance all her own. A bravura debut.” —Janet Fitch, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of White Oleander
Olivia Clare’s delightfully strange and tender debut collection traces the impact of larger-than-life forces on everyday people. From siblings whose relationship is as fragile as glass, to a woman grappling with both an emotional and physical drought, to a superstitious spouse fearful of misfortune, Disasters in the First World explores the real and the imagined, environmental and man-made calamities, and the human need to comprehend the unknown.
“These insightful stories . . . flout convention and work in mysterious ways. Two in particular—‘Pétur’ and ‘The Visigoths’—will probably be anthologized and taught and cherished for years to come. They’re so well crafted . . . [they] flicker with moments of rare insight and nuance . . . makes me want to pick up whatever Clare publishes next.” —Andrew Ervin, The New York Times Book Review
“Lyrical and elegiac . . . Clare’s writing sparkles with unexpected word choice . . . Her stories unfold in wonderfully astonishing turns . . . Tender yet occasionally biting, Disasters in the First World ekes narrative poetry out of tragedy . . . Clare writes compassionately and unflinchingly about mental suffering.” —Shelf Awareness
“Olivia Clare’s debut collection will surprise you with its poetic weirdness, its dark confidence. The ‘disasters’ in these stories are tragically indefinite, fissures in the lives of the characters, whom Clare brings to life with humor, wisdom, and brutal honesty.” —Vu Tran, author of Dragonfish