Book: Girl Country

Jacqueline Vogtman

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Jacqueline Vogtman’s first book, Girl Country, won the 2021 Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Prize, and will be published by Dzanc in May 2023. About the book, Dan Wickett, Dzanc’s co-founder and founder of the Emerging Writers Network, said: “Jacqueline Vogtman’s stories grabbed me from the first page, immediately reminding me of some of my favorite collections—those that offer a strangeness to the stories within, but while sharing the author’s wild imagination, also drill deep into the nerve of the human condition.”

The stories in Girl Country, which range from medieval Belgium to the near-future of the American Midwest, are populated by mothers and monsters, mermaids and milkmaids, nuns and bus drivers—women in every walk of life, but particularly working-class women, navigating the intersection of the mundane and the magical.

To purchase Girl Country:
Publisher: Dzanc Books Local: Frenchtown Bookshop Other: | Barnes & Noble | Target | Amazon

Praise for Girl Country:

“Each story in Jacqueline Vogtman’s Girl Country is absolutely luminous, the gorgeous writing and fantastical premises lingering with the reader for days after. Across eleven stories—and eleven sharp, individual worlds—Vogtman illuminates both the pain and wonder of women’s lives through the magic of mermaids, monsters and outer space. This is an essential, urgent and awe-inspiring collection.”
—Anne Valente, author of By Light We Knew Our Names

“In Girl Country, Jacqueline Vogtman tells stories of hope and connection in the face of terrifying forces. The stories range in time from the Middle Ages, to our present day, to a dystopian future that is uncannily recognizable. Her characters encounter threats from environmental collapse, economic divide, and social structures that repress and contain women. Yet the stories find illumination in the darkness as the characters bend toward empathy and connection. Read Girl Country, and you’ll see the world with a newly refreshed vision.”
-Lawrence Coates, author of Camp Olvido

“Alongside the Jersey Devil and the ghost haunting Jenny Jump Mountain, add the voice of Jacqueline Vogtman to the list of strange magic coming out of New Jersey. Vogtman’s Girl Country is a wondrously inventive journey through the monstrous landscapes women and girls must navigate, and an inquisitive, visceral, and often funny exploration of the monsters that dwell in every woman. Girl Country takes its reader from the present to the past and far into the future, with a wisdom and prescience that makes the collection both timely and utterly timeless. A stunning debut from an unforgettable writer.”
-Bess Winter, author of Machines of Another Era

“In Vogtman’s gorgeous sentences, the subject of intimacy becomes a brilliant ball of flame. Through these eleven stories, love and sex and caretaking become both wound and salve. This tightly woven collection sprouts wings, antlers, glistening fish tails. Vogtman’s fabulist premises delight and thrill, and they always pay off. In her stories, magic isn’t just believable. It’s inevitable. But the characters remain grounded in poignant emotional realism. Vogtman’s stories perform all the acrobatics I could ever hope to witness, and each flaming sentence scorches with sincerity.”
-Dustin M. Hoffman, author of One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist and No Good for Digging

“Jacqueline Vogtman is an admirably inquisitive and insightful writer, whose seemingly boundless curiosity translates into endless surprise for the reader. Girl Country is an astonishment of range and ability, an abundance of intelligence, wit, and delight.”
—Matt Bell, author of Appleseed

“Jacqueline Vogtman’s Girl Country is a stunner. The stories here enthrall, and the characters pulse with life. They thrive in the boundary lands between realism and myth: a pornographer discovering a mermaid, a married couple stuck in the repetition of having children from distant time periods; a grieving farmer saving a lost little girl and being saved in return. Stories that tantalize and elude and haunt. These are the stories of a confident writer in absolute control of her art, rendered in a gracious, delightful prose. A striking collection by a powerful new voice.”
-Brad Felver, author of Dogs of Detroit

“Jacqueline Vogtman’s debut could not have come at a more prescripted time. Her stories of lost, damaged souls offered a second chance—be it with a strange girl found on the side of the road, a busload of refugees heading north, or an unwanted child thrust into their arms—sketch vulnerable everybodies seeking redemption in a world that’s been unkind, unrelenting, and unreal. Vogtman is skilled at finding these pilgrims at the perfect moment, thrusting them into make-or-break opportunities, surprising us with each and every tale. This is a heartbreaking and powerful debut from a writer with impressive powers.”
—Michael Czyzniejewski, author of The Amnesiac in the Maze

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