for THE SOUND OF RABBITS
“At the heart of Janice Deal’s new novel The Sound of Rabbits are two sisters, one who stayed and one who fled. Val, in a sad marriage with two daughters, remained in their small hometown, and Ruby, who got away, hides her disappointments and failures. The two are brought together as their mother approaches death. Re-enacting old conflicts and finding new ones, each woman seeks solace from the other, and refuses it. Deal weaves together the two sisters’ stories, present and past, with those of their mother, Val’s girls, her silent husband, and others they touch in their small town, creating a luminous web in which each interwoven life is a strand that sets the entire web shaking and shimmering.
With a lovingly sharp-eyed grasp of the particularities of small town northern Wisconsin, with an uncanny ability to probe the dark and conflicted interiors of her characters, and a poet’s way of conjuring layers of emotion with a few perfect words, Deal has written a novel that resonates long after the last lines are read. The Sound of Rabbits is a deeply affecting and powerful novel.”
LYNN SLOAN, author of Midstream, Principles of Navigation, and the story collection This Far Isn’t Far Enough.
“I read The Sound of Rabbits with a growing sense of recognition and love for Ruby, her family, and the others in her orbit. As in her past and forthcoming work, Janice Deal tenderly nurtures the bonds between reader and character with her great empathy and keen understanding of what it means to be alive. In The Sound of Rabbits, Deal offers a moving portrait of one family's hopes, disappointments, and sorrows in a voice that is unflinching, achingly poignant, and unforgettable.”
KATHERINE SHONK, author of The Red Passport
and Happy Now?
“Family obligations exert a powerful gravitational pull on two sisters, Ruby who left for the big city, and Val who stayed in their small Wisconsin town. In this luminous and revelatory novel, the sisters tiptoe around the landmines of memory and discover a deep vein of self-acceptance and love. ”
MARYLEE MACDONALD, author of Montpelier Tomorrow, Surrender, and others
for STRANGE ATTRACTORS
“Welcome to Ephrem, a Midwestern town so minutely imagined by Janice Deal that you’re sure to recognize someone you’ve known—and to wonder why you never noticed how interesting they actually are. Even the awful people (and there are a couple) have their moments; but most of the denizens of Deal’s stories are just trying to do their best, sometimes managing to surprise themselves—but always managing to make us wonder at their antics and misfortune and occasional good luck, and to believe it all wholeheartedly, because of the author’s subtle and seductive art, as deceptively simple-seeming as the very best magic.”
ELLEN AKINS, author of Home Movie, World Like a Knife, and others
for THE DECLINE OF PIGEONS
"There are so many things to love about Janice Deal's collection, The Decline of Pigeons. I fell for her characters—young mothers, sly grandparents, drifters, accomplices—all hanging on and making do after great loss. I fell for her eye and its uncanny way with the social markers that unite and divide: the pressed-wood furniture, the shirts with pearl-button collars, the owl figurines. But finally, what most astonishes—and delights—is Deal's hard-won knowledge, expressed with such aching beauty, that although connection will wear us down, and wear us out, connect we must."
JAMES MAGRUDER, author of Vamp Until Ready
"The nine unblinkingly truthful stories in Janice Deal's debut collection, The Decline of Pigeons, are layered with tragedy, guilt, desperation, and betrayal. Emotionally engaging and entertaining, these stories are told with a gentle precision that elegantly explores the characters' experiences with domestic strife, amputation, broken dreams, and death. Whether describing parents' failed connections with siblings, sisters who can't agree, or relationships with a repo man and a husband who speaks to God, this collection endears itself to the reader with insights that illuminate what ties these stories together: the inevitability of loss."
JASON LEE BROWN, Series Editor for New Stories from the Midwest