This Is Not Your City by Caitlin Horrocks

This Is Not Your City

Eleven women confront dramas both everyday and outlandish in Caitlin Horrocks' This Is Not Your City. In stories as darkly comic as they are unflinching, people isolated by geography, emotion, or circumstance cut imperfect paths to peace—they have no other choice. A Russian mail-order bride in Finland is rendered silent by her dislocation and loss of language, the mother of a severely disabled boy writes him postcards he'll never read on a crui...

Details This Is Not Your City

TitleThis Is Not Your City
Release DateJun 28th, 2011
PublisherSarabande Books
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Short Story Collection

Reviews This Is Not Your City

  • Lisa
    Caitlin Horrocks is an imaginative and talented writer. She writes about women, mostly unhappy, who face a variety of fascinating predicaments. All the elements are here to create an amazing collection - but something is missing. There is a static feeling to these stories. I'm not quite sure what they need, but I'm sure Horrocks will figure it out in the future.
  • Suzanne
    4**** and some more. Can I get a ½ star over here, please. A big thank you to my friend Laura, whose rating led me to this. This Is Not Your City is a collection of eleven stories about girls and women in very different geographies, age ranges and situations. The main link between most of the characters seems to be their common talent at managing their own expectations, which are all, sadly, pretty low. These tales contain some very strange char...
  • Ethel Rohan
    loved Caitlin Horrock’s debut story collection, This is Not Your City. It’s an outstanding story collection written with great beauty, skill and compassion that I’ll return to again and again in my lifetime to reread, study, savor, and celebrate.The collection is so consistent it’s hard to say I’ve a favorite story, but “Steal Small” especially makes my heart wish it could sometimes wear armor.From “Steal Small”:“I brushed the...
  • Ben Loory
    I love that feeling when you start a book and get a few sentences in and then the thought hits you: "Oh, this one's for real!" Caitlin Horrocks is for real. The flow of these sentences is wonderful, and the worlds are not just fully envisioned but feel completely inhabited. It's a treat to read. If the story "Zolaria," which was by far my favorite, had come last instead of first, this would probably have felt like a 5-star book. Instead, I had th...
  • Matt
    This is a pretty remarkable collection of stories, and one that I think will have some pretty wide appeal.The stories themselves are of a traditional sort, and here that mostly means that they are geared towards liming and articulating a particular consciousness-- the goal of the stories, in fact, seems to be to record these. It's not like this is an insignificant or underrepresented stream in short fiction-- it's essentially what Alice Munro doe...
  • Larry H
    What a breathtaking short story collection Caitlin Horrocks has created. The 11 stories in This is Not Your City all have female protagonists, and each is facing some type of struggle, whether it's dealing with an unhappy relationship (romantic or familial), confronting your fears, hating your job (and those you deal with), or even having your cruise ship hijacked by pirates. But these stories aren't all heavy, depressing ones—Horrocks brings t...
  • Kerri
    I’m not sure how to bring this whole collection together in a review except to say the stories are all superbly written and enormously entertaining. Horrocks’ humor comes through in just the right amount and at just the right times. I am so thankful to the person who recommended this book to me, and I agree with her that the first story, “Zolaria,” is the best of the bunch. In fact, I wouldn’t mind spending a whole novel with the charac...
  • Sheryl Sorrentino
    I'm not a big fan of short stories, but these are all really good. They are the perfect length, for one thing. For another, they manage to draw the reader in immediately and unfold delectably from there. It's like getting on a crowded train and, for a stop or two, overhearing a startlingly quirky and gripping conversation. Then the doors open and, though you must get off, you can't stop thinking about those people as the train pulls away. The cha...
  • Lindsey Gates-Markel
    Shades of Munro & Moore. There is no story in this collection that doesn't thrill me. Midway through, I had a small tantrum, rolling around on the bed, over the fact that every finished story brought me closer to the END of the book, and also over the fact that the book would ever end at all. CAITLIN HORROCKS, BE MY FRIEND. Shades of Munro & Moore. There is no story in this collection that doesn't thrill me. Midway through, I had a small tantru...
  • Kathy
    Review at The Lit Pub: Review at The Lit Pub:
  • Superstition Review
    From the woman who is able to recall her past lives to the couple on a cruise that is overtaken by pirates, Caitlin Horrocks’ debut collection of short stories takes the reader around the world and into the lives of eleven unique women. In This is Not Your City, Horrocks is able to present people and situations that are extremely different while still creating an engaging and cohesive collection.Although Horrocks deals with difficult topics suc...
  • Matthew
    Caitlin Horrocks is a talented writer. Reading these stories, she does a great job of creating backstory and building out a set-up that feels real. The stories were rooted in a variety of different settings and ideas that all felt original. As an aspiring short story writer, I felt like there was a lot I could learn and take away from Caitlin's writing.So why 3 stars instead of 4 or 5? I felt like all of Caitlin's stories were missing something.....
  • Alan
    I discovered this young (28 years old) author while reading the 2011 edition of Best American Short Stories. Her story, The Sleep, was the best of the best. The stories in this collection are mostly written from the point of view of a woman in her 20's. Sometimes the woman is American, other times the woman is foreign. A typical story line is a girl meets a guy and move to a new town, where they are poor but happy. She takes a library job teachin...
  • Kelli Bragg
    I'm not normally one for short-story anthologies: in the past, each time I sampled one, I felt no connection to the characters: they were just there & gone, and I didn't really care what had happened to them. I was continually left wanting more and believed there was no way to create compelling tales within the span of several pages. This book has relegated that belief to the dustbin...the stories are quite compact, but are also so well-written t...
  • Rayme
    I'm hard to please with short story collections, but very much enjoyed This Is Not Your City. Several of the stories were perfectly rendered for my taste, especially It Looks Like This (second story in the collection). I read it three times before I considered myself done with this book.Only four stars because I thought one or two of the stories were opaque, at least to my brain. However the story I felt embodied this problem most was used for th...
  • Danarae
    Absolutely stunning writer. Lots of stories about all manner of women - smart, unambitious, dumb, practical - who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Throw in a reference to "The Hobbit" on the first page and - well - just wade into Horrocks' prose and enjoy whiling away the hours in her dark and witty fantasy worlds.
  • Catherine
    This is a book that speaks true of women. I encountered that there was no price for a mother's protection, recognized the yearnings of a lonely soul and a familiar regret for an abandoned friendship. I saw how love and doubt are not necessarily in negative correlation. Women do and undo, create and crush,and most of the times it is just so we can keep on living.
  • Cari Noga
    I sought out this book after reading another of Caitlin Horrocks' stories in an anthology (There). I was not disappointed. Each story shines with originality. The only thing I didn't care for were the unnamed protagonists in a few stories -- a name is a primary way I relate to a character. I will look for more of her work.
  • Jaye
    Excellent collection of short stories."Embodied" is one of the best stories I've ever read.from page 91:"In this, my 127th life,"....
  • Alexandra Grabbe
    Short story collections are perfect for a B&B because guests can complete a whole story and then savor the nuances while falling asleep … I discovered This is Not Your City at the Hyannis Barnes & Noble, while waiting for Sven to have a tooth extracted. Caitlin Horrocks is probably not a familiar name, but it will become one. Her first collection of short stories reminds me of a meticulously loomed scarf, with bits of shiny thread woven through...
  • Katherine
    "She taught me to quilt years ago. I've always done it by myself. Quilting circles seem like a dumb idea. I don't want to sit around and listen to people bellyache. My problems are mine. No one else's. I've never really liked quilting that much" (22).“In Beulah, Robin would watch people watch her, not hostile, just curious, wondering, What are you? Are you—something? Something different than what we are?“What are you? Robin was always tempt...
  • Kawai
    This is a collection of well-written stories that span a variety of subjects and locations. Unlike some short story collection, the author does a decent job of stretching her voice to accommodate many different characters. It's worth noting, however, that all the characters are female and share a similar cultural basis, so while the perspectives and situations are different, the main characters do, in some ways, sound the same. That's all just se...
  • Carol
    This is an amazing group of stories by an imaginative and funny writer. Her scenarios -- from the woman who's lived 127 lives and feels like the baby growing in her was someone with whom she had nasty dealings in the past to the couple who send postcards from their cruise to their severely disabled son -- are just offbeat enough to catch your interest but real enough not to seem like short-story workshop exercises. You get the feeling that Horroc...
  • Patriciafoltz
    Wow!! In the last several years I have become a big fan of short stories. Unlike novels, which are often just average, I find that with short fiction it's either love or hate. Perhaps because the author has such a limited time with the reader in each story. I am impatient with short stories where the author repeats themes over and over. This collection is the BEST thing I have read in a long time. Each story is very different yet each is superb. ...
  • Tali Treece
    In this collection of short stories, Horrocks writes one story in an odd mix of present and future tense, another in the form of an essay/letter with pictures, and somehow these stories don’t come off as kitschy or cute, or as trying to be different for its own sake, but rather as the best possible way they could have been told. In other stories, she writes about a couple whose cruise ship gets held up by pirates; about a woman who has lived 12...
  • Julie
    If you're at all a fan of short stories or quirky fiction, you should find a lot to like here. Horrocks frequently plays with the concept of time and there are many (light) science-fiction or magical realism touches. Recommended for fans of Karen Russell, Gina Ochsner, Rebecca Makkai, and, to a lesser extent, Alice Munro. If you're at all a fan of short stories or quirky fiction, you should find a lot to like here. Horrocks frequently plays wit...
  • Patricia Murphy
    Loved it. I felt safe in these stories--not because the situations were safe, but because I had faith that Horrocks was taking me somewhere meaningful and with the best possible sentences. Even more lovely was that the "somewhere" she took me was always unexpected. These stories are packed with detail, all of it handled so deftly I wonder how many lives it took to gather them all. Some of my favorite lines: "Hating children left her breathless." ...
  • Sidra
    I loved this book. Loved every story. I actually would give it a 4.5. I picked it up because a friend suggested I read it. She said Ms. Horrocks writing reminded her of mine. I should be so lucky! She develops such a strong voice in her characters. I love that many of the characters are not terribly like-able, or rather the ugly side of their nature is not hidden at all. Many of the stories drop you into a moment in time in the characters lives a...
  • Amy
    Short stories aren't my thing really... I have to pause between each story to let it settle before moving onto the next, and I don't have the patience to do so... This one took a while to read because I was trying to do that - each story was well written, but too short for me to really invest in the characters. Harder still to care since each character seemed to be struggling with such heavy loads of life...A couple of times I wondered "why write...