“Complex, tender, and deeply human.”
—Eric Shonkwiler, author of 8th Street Water & Light
The eleven stories in Sara Rauch’s What Shines from It are rife with the physical and psychic wounds of everyday life. In “Beholden,” girl meets boy meets the unsettled spirits of post-9/11 New York City, but her future can’t hold them all. In “Kitten,” a struggling veteran and his wife argue over adopting an abandoned kitten, deepening their financial and emotional rifts. In “Abandon,” a ghost-baby ravages a woman’s body following a late-term miscarriage, marring her chances for new love. And in “Kintsukuroi,” a married potter falls in love with a married geologist and discovers the luminosity of being broken.
What Shines from It is populated by women on the verge of transcendence—brimming with anger and love—and working-class artists haunted by the ghosts of their desires. Abiding by a distinctly guarded New England sensibility, these stories inhabit the borderlands of long-established cities, where humans are still learning to embrace the natural world. Subtly exploring sexualities, relationships, birth and rebirth, identity, ghosts, and longing, Rauch searches for the places where our protective shells are cracked and, in spare, poetic language, limns those edges of loneliness and loss with light.
SARA RAUCH’s fiction and essays have appeared in Paper Darts, Hobart, Split Lip, So to Speak, Qu, Lunch Ticket, and other literary magazines, as well as in the anthologies Dear John, I Love Jane; Best Lesbian Romance 2014; and She’s Lost Control. She has covered books for Bustle, BitchMedia, Curve Magazine, Lambda Literary, The Rumpus, and more. In 2012, she founded the literary magazine Cactus Heart, which ran through 2016. She holds an MFA from Pacific University. Sara teaches writing at Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop and Grub Street and also works as an independent editor and manuscript consultant. What Shines from It, which won the Electric Book Award, is Sara’s first book. She lives with her family in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Find her online at sararauch.com, on Twitter at @sararauch, and on Instagram at @sara__rauch.