Magical and funny, profound and seductive, the linked stories in TRUE LOVE AND OTHER DREAMS OF MIRACULOUS ESCAPE explore the life-bending power of love. In these interwoven lives, ardent desire meets a keen sense of reality deep in the heart of progressive California. When Sadie opens a funky bookstore in Santa Cruz, she is swept off her feet by Daniel, a true-blue romantic—athletic, bookish, from Santiago, Chile. Their connection is heady and erotic, and it echoes through the love lives around them: from Harry Houdini’s first encounter with the widow Winchester to the threatening intimacy between a wife and her brother to a grumpy teenager who inspires her divorced parents. Years later, when Sadie and Daniel take an overdue trip to Paris, their blended family doesn't blend so well, sending them back to rediscover their roots. In these interconnected lives, the desire for passion is as strong as the desire to escape, and the terror of claustrophobic connection competes with the deepest human yearning. An intoxicating look at the complexity and simplicity of embracing and running from love. By the award-winning author of What Becomes Us.
“What an enticing cast of characters readers get to meet here! Micah Perks writes so well of love in many of its forms and stages, and she populates her book with such a memorable crew. No one is exempt from struggle and disappointment, and yet there is always a chance for transcendence, too." - Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and The Color Master
"A writer whose stories are endearingly hard headed and tender hearted, and whose characters are so very alive that they practically escape off the page when you encounter them. This collection will cure what ails you.” - Kelly Link, author of Get In Trouble and Pretty Monsters
"The stories in True Love connect in the most satisfying way. You begin with a journalist who interviewed Harry Houdini about his night with lost souls in the Winchester House, a light story that gains weight from the six million Jews who did not escape. Then you have the chance to follow his granddaughter in her sad affair with a lover from Chile, a legacy. The stories are about escape in the deepest ways, from marriage and family and self and even from time and place, and the writing is beautiful, believable, disorienting. Sit down and watch the show, because I guarantee you don't know what's coming. . ." - David Vann, author of Bright Air Black and Aquarium
"In curiously urgent conversations, Micah Perks’ narrators dissolve reader’s defenses in her new book of short stories, True Love and Other Dreams of Miraculous Escape. Unravelling their intergrown lives in a Santa Cruz of the mind, Perks’ opinionated minions beckon. And we are reeled in..." - Christina Water at Good Times
"Her expanding cast of characters — a romantic if melancholic bookstore owner, an enigmatic writer, a martial artist — binge-watch Friday Night Lights, post obsessively to neighborhood discussion forums, take karate lessons, cook with each other. They are sensitive souls, and Perks captures their feelings and perceptions as they move through the beauty and privilege and vulnerability of daily life in a smallish city on Monterey Bay...." - Michael Ursell in conversation with Micah at Los Angeles Review of Books
". . .a healing exploration of intimacy and kinship, through the interwoven lives of memorable, flawed, funny, and often perspicacious characters, at a time when we need every miraculous escape we can get..." - Susan Jackson Rodgers, The Rumpus
"The intense energy of the stories’ conflicts, from potential kidnapping to potential murder, propels them forward, even when nothing has actually happened... The stories rely on effective, curt dialogue and internal monologues, with engaging glimpses into many different minds... Romantic and dramatic, the linked stories of True Love and Other Dreams of Miraculous Escape are subtle and engaging." - Laura Leavitt, Foreword Reviews
"There are people whose lives seem so innately fictional that you wonder if they had any other choice but to become a writer. Micah Perks, who grew up on a utopian commune in the wilderness of the Adirondack Mountains and now co-directs the creative writing program at UC Santa Cruz, is such a person..." ..." - Laura Paull, The Jewish Weeky
"Yes, joy. Joy! Happiness or joy is hard to write about. Everyone says it’s conflict and trouble that propel stories forward. I often think about the opening scene in a movie called Enduring Love, in which this man and woman are in a green field, it’s a picnic, and they open a bottle of wine. It’s an absolutely still, sunny day, but the scene pulses with tension because as moviegoers we know that when we see peace and happiness and love something really bad is about to happen. Anyway, several years ago I challenged myself to write about joy, and not only as a prelude to conflict and violence, but as an emotion that could propel the story forward. . ." - Micah Perks with Lucy Jane Bledsoe at The Rumpus
"I wrote the stories in between book projects over a fifteen-year period. Then, when I decided to make a book, I thought I should link them up. . . It was a Rubik’s Cube (which I could never do). . ." - Micah Perks with Thais Miller at The Humanities Institutes UC Santa Cruz
"The Spanish word Ojala has a breathy, warm, open sound. It has Arabic roots, from pre-1492 Spain where once upon a time Jews and Arabs and Latinos all lived together, surrounded by arches and mosaic tiles, by the smell of rose, hyacinth, musk and amber. Oh, Allah, it comes from, Oh Allah, I entreat you. It means hope..." - Micah Perks at Necessary Fiction
"I like the idea of a weird sisterhood with powers to see beyond the ordinary. Weird sisters stirring a pot of who knows what. Weird books are my favorite kind of books, anyway: books that are unclassifiable, books that value surprise, the tangent, books about women and girls who refuse to conform to societal norms. . ." - Micah Perks at Electric Lit
"Micah Perks' book has everything a reader could hope for -- her language is lively, her characters appealing. Set in a storied landscape, with themes of independence and community. Romance! History! Food! Plus a tale to tell and some surprising people to tell it. There is real magic here. Micah magic! Completely original, completely delightful."
- Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
"I've been obsessed with Mary Rowlandson for 20 years, and was delighted to find that Micah Perks writes about her with fireworks. This is a warm, wild, hilarious, eccentric and moving book."
- Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies and Arcadia
“Micah Perks is one of the most radiantly original writers around. What Becomes Us, exhilarating and terrifying, is a novel I love for its wild beauty, its offbeat inventiveness, its effervescent language, and the artfulness with which it has been shaped. This is a brilliant novel.”
- Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen
Top 10 Books About The Apocalypse: "The apocalypses of the past haunt the present in this magical novel narrated by twin foetuses... I can think of no better way to explain an apocalypse." - Michelle Tea at The Guardian
Micah Perks grew up in a log cabin on a commune in the Adirondack wilderness. She is the author of two other novels, What Becomes Us and We Are Gathered Here, and a memoir, Pagan Time. Her short stories and essays have won five Pushcart Prize nominations and appeared in Epoch, Zyzzyva, Tin House, The Toast, OZY and The Rumpus, amongst many journals and anthologies. Excerpts of What Becomes Us won a National Endowment for the Arts grant and The New Guard Machigonne 2014 Fiction Prize. She received her BA and MFA from Cornell University and now lives with her family in Santa Cruz where she co-directs the creative writing program at UCSC. More info and work at micahperks.com.
True Love And Other Dreams of Miraculous Escape
$16.00 paperback ISBN 9781944853556
October 9, 2018 - Kepler’s, Palo Alto, with Molly Antopol and Tobias Wolff
October 12, 2018 - Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, with free Ben & Jerry's!
October 15, 2018 - Odyssey Books, Northampton
October 16, 2018 - RJ Julia, Madison, CT
October 17, 2018 - Norwich Books, Norwich, VT, with Peter Orner
October 18, 2018 - Papercuts, Boston, with Elizabeth Graver
October 21, 2018 - KGB Bar, New York City, with Beth Lisick
October 23, 2018 - Bookshop Santa Cruz
October 28, 2018 - Skylight, Los Angeles, with Ben Loory
November 7, 2018 - The Bindery, San Francisco, with Kate Schatz and Lucy Bledsoe
December 5, 2018 - Powell's on Hawthorne, Portland