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This Is Not Your City

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  863 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Eleven women confront dramas both everyday and outlandish in Caitlin Horrocks' This Is Not Your City. In stories as darkly comic as they are unflinching, people isolated by geography, emotion, or circumstance cut imperfect paths to peace—they have no other choice. A Russian mail-order bride in Finland is rendered silent by her dislocation and loss of language, the mother o ...more
Paperback, 169 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Sarabande Books (first published May 1st 2011)
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Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Suzanne by: Laura Leaney
Shelves: short-story
4**** and some more. Can I get a star over here, please.

A big thank you to my friend Laura, whose rating led me to this.

This Is Not Your City is a collection of eleven stories about girls and women in very different geographies, age ranges and situations. The main link between most of the characters seems to be their common talent at managing their own expectations, which are all, sadly, pretty low. These tales contain some very strange characters, not all of them terribly likable. After the
Ethel Rohan
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
loved Caitlin Horrock’s debut story collection, This is Not Your City. It’s an outstanding story collection written with great beauty, skill and compassion that I’ll return to again and again in my lifetime to reread, study, savor, and celebrate.

The collection is so consistent it’s hard to say I’ve a favorite story, but “Steal Small” especially makes my heart wish it could sometimes wear armor.

From “Steal Small”:

“I brushed the backs of his knuckles. ‘The gangrene’s back,’ he said, which it was,
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty remarkable collection of stories, and one that I think will have some pretty wide appeal.

The stories themselves are of a traditional sort, and here that mostly means that they are geared towards liming and articulating a particular consciousness-- the goal of the stories, in fact, seems to be to record these. It's not like this is an insignificant or underrepresented stream in short fiction-- it's essentially what Alice Munro does, for example, or, to a lesser extent, a writer l
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I’m not sure how to bring this whole collection together in a review except to say the stories are all superbly written and enormously entertaining. Horrocks’ humor comes through in just the right amount and at just the right times. I am so thankful to the person who recommended this book to me, and I agree with her that the first story, “Zolaria,” is the best of the bunch. In fact, I wouldn’t mind spending a whole novel with the characters. It reminded me a lot of Lorrie Moore’s Who Will Run th ...more
Sheryl Sorrentino
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm not a big fan of short stories, but these are all really good. They are the perfect length, for one thing. For another, they manage to draw the reader in immediately and unfold delectably from there. It's like getting on a crowded train and, for a stop or two, overhearing a startlingly quirky and gripping conversation. Then the doors open and, though you must get off, you can't stop thinking about those people as the train pulls away.

The characters are complex, understated, and utterly huma
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I discovered this young (28 years old) author while reading the 2011 edition of Best American Short Stories. Her story, The Sleep, was the best of the best. The stories in this collection are mostly written from the point of view of a woman in her 20's. Sometimes the woman is American, other times the woman is foreign. A typical story line is a girl meets a guy and move to a new town, where they are poor but happy. She takes a library job teaching computers and meets an old man who casts suspici ...more
Kelli Bragg
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm not normally one for short-story anthologies: in the past, each time I sampled one, I felt no connection to the characters: they were just there & gone, and I didn't really care what had happened to them. I was continually left wanting more and believed there was no way to create compelling tales within the span of several pages.

This book has relegated that belief to the dustbin...the stories are quite compact, but are also so well-written that they contain entire worlds and characters
Terri Jacobson
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chuck Lustig
Horrocks's story-telling powers make me blather on like a blurb. This debut author has a remarkable ability to make each story a world complete, only a world without oxygen or nitrogen. Her coup de grace is her humanity and sense of humor. And her lyric poetry, when she wishes to turn it on. I read the first page of her first story five times before I got it. Who is this stringer together of words who writes a novel in a sentence and then writes the first page of a story comprised of twenty-five ...more
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm hard to please with short story collections, but very much enjoyed This Is Not Your City. Several of the stories were perfectly rendered for my taste, especially It Looks Like This (second story in the collection). I read it three times before I considered myself done with this book.

Only four stars because I thought one or two of the stories were opaque, at least to my brain. However the story I felt embodied this problem most was used for the title of the book and was and O. Henry prize win
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Absolutely stunning writer. Lots of stories about all manner of women - smart, unambitious, dumb, practical - who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Throw in a reference to "The Hobbit" on the first page and - well - just wade into Horrocks' prose and enjoy whiling away the hours in her dark and witty fantasy worlds.
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a book that speaks true of women. I encountered that there was no price for a mother's protection, recognized the yearnings of a lonely soul and a familiar regret for an abandoned friendship. I saw how love and doubt are not necessarily in negative correlation. Women do and undo, create and crush,and most of the times it is just so we can keep on living.
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shades of Munro & Moore. There is no story in this collection that doesn't thrill me. Midway through, I had a small tantrum, rolling around on the bed, over the fact that every finished story brought me closer to the END of the book, and also over the fact that the book would ever end at all. CAITLIN HORROCKS, BE MY FRIEND.
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent collection of short stories.
"Embodied" is one of the best stories I've ever read.
from page 91:
"In this, my 127th life,"....
Andy Malcolm
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Incredibly talented author, each story cramming so much poetic detail, delicious humour and sweeping emotion into a tight space. I hope they release a novel at some point, although this is six years old and no other books have been forthcoming so I could be optimistic there. I would buy it day one.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author is from Michigan and I enjoyed recognizing Ann Arbor places. This collection of short stories drew me in to the unassuming, and low self worth of the women characters.
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shortstories
I have to give this 4 stars because some of the stories in this collection are truly touching and deep. I didn't love all the stories in this collection, but there are some wonderful gems in here that really do a wonderful job of describing loss.
Superstition Review
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
From the woman who is able to recall her past lives to the couple on a cruise that is overtaken by pirates, Caitlin Horrocks’ debut collection of short stories takes the reader around the world and into the lives of eleven unique women. In This is Not Your City, Horrocks is able to present people and situations that are extremely different while still creating an engaging and cohesive collection.

Although Horrocks deals with difficult topics such as death, a ticking biological clock, and a severe
Larry H
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a breathtaking short story collection Caitlin Horrocks has created. The 11 stories in This is Not Your City all have female protagonists, and each is facing some type of struggle, whether it's dealing with an unhappy relationship (romantic or familial), confronting your fears, hating your job (and those you deal with), or even having your cruise ship hijacked by pirates. But these stories aren't all heavy, depressing ones—Horrocks brings the right balance of emotion, humor, and seriousness ...more
Alexandra Grabbe
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Short story collections are perfect for a B&B because guests can complete a whole story and then savor the nuances while falling asleep … I discovered This is Not Your City at the Hyannis Barnes & Noble, while waiting for Sven to have a tooth extracted. Caitlin Horrocks is probably not a familiar name, but it will become one. Her first collection of short stories reminds me of a meticulously loomed scarf, with bits of shiny thread woven through the mohair, and nubby wool sticking out her ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"She taught me to quilt years ago. I've always done it by myself. Quilting circles seem like a dumb idea. I don't want to sit around and listen to people bellyache. My problems are mine. No one else's. I've never really liked quilting that much" (22).
“In Beulah, Robin would watch people watch her, not hostile, just curious, wondering, What are you? Are you—something? Something different than what we are?
“What are you? Robin was always tempted to ask them. What somethings are all of you?” (62).
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
This is Not Your City was a quietly excellent book. After reading it, my first thought was that it was a 4 star book. But the more I've reflected on it, I think it merits 5 stars. Unlike many short story collections, there wasn't a weak link in this book - and there was great variety to be had. Each story was well-crafted and populated with fully realized characters. Several stories left me thinking about them long after moving on to something else.

The stories in this volume don't share a cast o
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers who don't mind a bit of bleakness
This is a very strong collection that reminds me a lot of Alice Munro's writing. The only reason why I give this four stars is because the slightly stream-of-consciousness writing was a bit difficult to read after a while and I wish the style had been varied a bit. (This is rather hypocritical though, because Munro writes about the same thing in pretty much the same way for all her short stories... and I still worship her.)

Horrocks writes about women placed in challenging positions - being marri
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
The theme of this collection seemed to be women lost - lost in relationships, lost to themselves. The stories here are full of a brilliant calm. In Zolaria, readers find a pair of young friends inventing a world for themselves over summer vacation with the intermingled rendering of their eventual divergence. This story was my favorite, so full and encompassing, yet delicate and well managed. There is a balance that Caitlin Horrocks has achieved with these stories that I am beyond jealous over. S ...more
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I know Caitlin -- she and I did Honors together at Kenyon -- so it's both wonderful and nagging to see her work in book format (wonderful for obvious reasons, nagging because what she's done at our age is seriously impressive and I am not there yet ...). But I thoroughly enjoyed her writing and was hooked by the very first story in this collection. Her breadth is at times perhaps a little over-reaching, but she is stellar when she tackles what she knows. Her stories of life in Michigan, Ohio (ye ...more
Caitlin Horrocks creates, in a few short pages, characters of such depth that readers will know hem better than they know themselves. Horrocks' language craftsmanship rivals that of Colm Toibin, but her ability to sink inside such varied and disparate lives and points of view surpasses his. The only point of contention here is in the incredible story, "It looks Like This." Horrocks perfectly captures the point of view of her teenaged, rural protagonist except that she repeatedly refers to Mount ...more
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wish one could add half stars.. I wouldn't say I really liked the book but I thought it was better than ok..
First off.. i have never liked short stories - I don't think I have read short stories since I was in high school.. I just don't feel complete after reading them.. I like the journey of a novel .. there is no journey with a short story and if there is one, then its too short..
THANK GOD for book club! if it hadn't been for the women in my book club i would a) never have read this book a
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow!! In the last several years I have become a big fan of short stories. Unlike novels, which are often just average, I find that with short fiction it's either love or hate. Perhaps because the author has such a limited time with the reader in each story. I am impatient with short stories where the author repeats themes over and over. This collection is the BEST thing I have read in a long time. Each story is very different yet each is superb. Language, plot, style, honesty (particular about o ...more
Oct 31, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a collection of well-written stories that span a variety of subjects and locations. Unlike some short story collection, the author does a decent job of stretching her voice to accommodate many different characters. It's worth noting, however, that all the characters are female and share a similar cultural basis, so while the perspectives and situations are different, the main characters do, in some ways, sound the same.

That's all just secondary commentary, however, on an otherwise satis
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past lives or mental illness? 1 13 Dec 22, 2011 07:17AM  
  • How They Were Found
  • Death Is Not an Option
  • What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
  • Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing
  • Girl Trouble: Stories
  • Alone With You
  • I Knew You'd Be Lovely
  • Volt
  • Ladies and Gentlemen
  • Baby and Other Stories
  • Tunneling to the Center of the Earth: Stories
  • Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories
  • Safe as Houses
  • Vanishing and Other Stories
  • The Dead Fish Museum: Stories
  • Burning Bright
  • More of This World or Maybe Another
  • The Great Frustration
Caitlin Horrocks lives in Michigan by way of Ohio, Arizona, England, Finland, and the Czech Republic. She is the author of the story collection This Is Not Your City. Her stories and essays appear in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories 2011, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2009, The Pushcart Prize XXXV, The Paris Review, Tin House, One Story and elsewhere. Her work has won awards includ ...more
More about Caitlin Horrocks...

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