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Clare Beams

CLARE BEAMS is the author of the story collection We Show What We Have Learned, which was a Kirkus Best Debut of 2016, as well as a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award. With her husband and two daughters, she lives in Pittsburgh, where she teaches creative writing, most recently at Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
Clare Beams recommends
The Upstairs House (2021)
Julia Fine
"The Upstairs House is a terrifying jolt of a book. Here are all the openings-up of motherhood, and all the strains of its competing demands, taken brilliantly to their richest, most frightening extremes. I was riveted by every twist and turn of this story about the hauntedness of having a child."
In the Event of Contact (2021)
Ethel Rohan
"These characters long for connections that keep eluding them: they feel so much and yet can touch so little. Their tragedies and resilience are brilliantly various and individual--none alike, and none exactly like ours--but they speak to the universal through the particular as only art can manage. A tremendous achievement."
The Rock Eaters (2021)
Brenda Peynado
"This book is a giant. What staggering reach and ambition Brenda Peynado's stories have: here are aliens, tortured superhumans, angels, sufferings literalized as stones, ritualized drownings, enchanted sleeps, the hauntings of home, all rendered with the kind of power that sweeps us effortlessly from exhilaration to despair and back again. The Rock Eaters is the work of an imagination that brooks no limits, that claims, masterfully, all territories as its own. I'm in awe of this book. It's one of the most thrilling debuts I've read in years."
The Ophelia Girls (2021)
Jane Healey
"The Ophelia Girls is a novel saturated with beauty, menace, longing, secrets-- and with passions deep enough to drown in. It's a sinister, suspenseful page-turner that gripped me tightly and still hasn't fully let go."
Unlikely Animals (2022)
Annie Hartnett
"No one is better at heart than Annie Hartnett--in the best, most layered, most complicated, and deeply human sense--and still Unlikely Animals stunned me. In a book rich with miracles, it's this complexity and expansiveness of connection that feels most miraculous of all."
Elsewhere (2022)
Alexis Schaitkin
"Elsewhere is among my favorite novels of the last decade. There's an eerie, gorgeous magic to Schaitkin's vision that's related to the magic of Kazuo Ishiguro and Shirley Jackson but also entirely her own. I hadn't realized how much it would mean to me to witness an intelligence this fierce and singular, a capacity for feeling this deep, and a gift for language this extraordinary all trained on the subject of motherhood in all its wonder and strangeness."
White Cat, Black Dog (2023)
Kelly Link
"With White Cat, Black Dog, these stories delight and terrify us, and seem to say, Yes, this is the way the world works - haven't you been paying attention? I am now. What a glorious and bewitching gift this book is."
Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea (2023)
Rita Chang-Eppig
"A dazzling feat of storytelling."

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