It’s Not Going to Kill You, and Other Stories is inhabited by characters who are rabblerousers in their own quiet lives, fighting against the roles prescribed to them as mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, wives and husbands. The narratives here are shaped around family dramas as well as our American events and rituals, from 9/11 to Halloween ridiculousness. In these stories a new mother struggles to find her footing through an unlikely friendship with a dog groomer; a member of a 1980s airband offers the illusion of a stardom to a city in decline; a car accident causes a man to recount his abandonment of a baby as he rescues, in his own small way, the boy responsible for the accident. In these stories, readers will meet people they never would have anticipated while simultaneously recognizing themselves.
Smart, lively, and full of skillful turns, It’s Not Going to Kill You, and Other Stories offers a poignant and unforgettable look at who we are when we have to face the complicated and necessary ways in which we all matter to one another.Lee Martin, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Bright Forever
Erin Flanagan’s haunting stories sneak up on you with their sensory, sometimes startling images that ground you in the lives of her flawed but striving characters. . . . Flanagan also pulls off beautifully what I’d begun to suspect perhaps couldn’t be done—‘Feather the Nest’ is the first 9/11 story that makes sense to me.”Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals