A Best Book of 2019 according to the Chicago Tribune, Kirkus, Booklist, Vogue.com, and the Chicago Public Library
If there's a Howland bandwagon (and there should be), hold me a seat, or I'll stand.
Howland creates stark and strange works of genius, portraying the complexities of family relationships as beautifully as she portrays her narrators' insecurities, judgments, and anxieties.... This is a collection to savor, and Howland is an author to celebrate.
–Publishers Weekly, starred review
Loving, lacerating sketches... With her flexible stance toward reality, her eye for the amusing, curious, minutiae of existence, and her tonal range, Howland recalls the short-story writer Lucia Berlin.
―Abigail Deutsch, Harper's
An insanely sane mix of the hard-to-fight city in the '70s and the accidental poetry of families stumbling through time.
–Robert Sullivan, Vogue
The recent celebration of fellow forgotten female artists, the short story writer Lucia Berlin, championed by Lydia Davis, or the painter Himla af Klint, showcased at the Guggenheim, reminds us how necessary it is to restore these visionaries, to help reshape our collective artistic history.... Expanding the canon to make room for Howland enhances our reading of the literature she's in conversation with. This includes, notably, the stories of working-class America by her contemporary Raymond Carver.
–Jenessa Abrams, Guernica
Like Bellow, Howland was a bard of Chicago, even at its most alarming.... A voice at once gritty and lyrical, despairing even while tenaciously holding onto hope. That Howland's work is back with us again shows that hope won out, after all.
–Diane Cole, Jewish Week
The stories of Bette Howland return to you like friends met once in a dream–strange, familiar, roughing up the texture of your days. These are stories that defy classification, but seem as fresh and vital as though they were written last week. The revival of Howland's work is one of the best things to have happened in recent memory.
–Madeleine Watts, McNally Jackson
Bette Howland hit me like a meteor. She writes with the deft narrative voice of Grace Paley and Eudora Welty's fidelity of place, yet her work fell out of print. This collection brings her back, and we're all lucky.
–Andrew Kay, East City Bookshop
"The rediscovery of Bette Howland as a major American writer not only feels just and right, it was, in retrospect, inevitable. A voice this unique simply can't be forgotten or ignored forever. Her words, though in many cases decades old, remain refreshing and vital. Her concerns are our concerns. In many ways she came to us when we needed her most."
–Jeff Martin, Magic City Books
"You won't be able to stop yourself from devouring [Bette Howland's] strange and wonderful short story collection, Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage.