Books by Alyson Hagy

SCRIBE by Alyson Hagy
Released: Oct. 2, 2018

"Timely and timeless; a deft novel about the consequences and resilience of storytelling."
In a world with few survivors and fewer rules, words become a lifeline. Read full book review >
BOLETO by Alyson Hagy
Released: May 8, 2012

"Plot lags behind character, but Hagy reads horses and people so well you won't mind…so much."
He's come of age, but the appealing young cowboy still has life lessons to learn in this beautifully observed third novel from Hagy (Snow, Ashes, 2007, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2010

"Hagy's images of Wyoming are a bit too muted to be fully engaging, but her writing is consistently provocative and informed. "
An assortment of carefully tuned stories marked by hauntings, curious incidents and hard Western landscapes. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

" Occasionally a little studied in tone and attitude, but this is honest work from a thoughtful craftswoman."
Strong, polished stories, many previously published in literary quarterlies, by an accomplished veteran in this genre (Hardware River, 1991, etc.). Hagy's spare prose and flinty dialogue vividly conjures the ocean-sprayed atmosphere of North Carolina's Outer Banks, where most of her characters live in a complex web of familial and community ties. The mores of the outside world are intriguing but vexing to these salty folk, from the fisherman who misses out on a big catch thanks to some drunken tourists ("Sharking") to the boy fascinated by a young woman searching for the rare Lampropeltis getulus sticticeps ("The Snake Hunters"). The longest, most complex tale, "Search Bay" (anthologized in Best American Short Stories 1997), is atypical in its setting (Michigan, by the shore of Lake Huron) but exhibits a familiar preoccupation with fraught personal relations and existential loneliness that is underscored yet often assuaged by nature's grandeur. Read full book review >

Seven short stories by Hagy (Madonna On Her Back, 1986)—each one choked with serf-consciously poetic rural dialect and the darkly pregnant images that writing workshops spawn. In the title story, a lonely young farmer impregnates a beautiful but cruel local seductress. He hatches a dark plot to abduct the baby boy, only to crucify himself in a bizarre scene that involves a bird and a water-wheel. In "Ballad and Sadness," a young American woman latches on to a lean and cheerful Scottish lad: "There is a power that falls like angels in the world, and this man bore it well, as naturally as the heat of his body." No amount of body heat can save the woman, however, as she roams the Scottish moors trying to forget her farm back home—and the image of her beloved brother molesting a neighbor's child in the shed. "The Field of Lost Shoes" and "A Seeming Mermaid" each deal with the pain-clogged poignancy of lost love ("Even her vanishing back was exquisite. Like a dolphin. Or the glimpse of a doe"). In "The Grief is Always Fresh," a lonely artist identifies with a murder victim in a moody landscape of fields and trees. "Native Rest," about the losses of a crippled German Baptist woman, takes place under similar brooding skies. Finally, in "A Kettle of Hawks," a darkly handsome farmer attempts to bury his homosexual longing for a fatherless young boy under his passion for falconry ("But a hawk, a contained bird of prey, could never fail him"). Hagy has lyrical gifts, but this pretentious, overcooked collection is a disappointment—an attempt, it seems, to substitute overwrought images for real meaning. Read full book review >