Reviews: The Loss of All Lost Things

–We’re dealing with scenes so deep that we witness them in a poetic sense – through the residual feeling they evoke.

BIO • WRITING • HONORS • AWARDSINTERVIEWS • CONTACTS • EVENTS • NEWS
NOW WE WILL BE HAPPY • AT-RISK • THE LOSS OF ALL LOST THINGS


WINNER OF THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY’S 21st CENTURY AWARD

WINNER OF THE PHILLIS WHEATLEY BOOK AWARD IN FICTION

WINNER OF THE ROYAL PALM LITERARY AWARD IN LITERARY FICTION

WINNER OF THE FLORIDA AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT’S BOOK AWARD GOLD MEDAL IN SHORT FICTION

WINNER OF THE FLORIDA AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT’S BOOK AWARD GOLD MEDAL IN LITERARY FICTION

WINNER OF THE FLORIDA AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT’S BOOK AWARD SILVER MEDAL IN GENERAL FICTION

SHORTLISTED FOR THE SFC LITERARY PRIZE

NOMINEE FOR THE HURSTON/WRIGHT LEGACY AWARD IN FICTION

FINALIST FOR THE JOHN GARDNER AWARD IN FICTION

FINALIST FOR THE 2017 PATERSON PRIZE IN FICTION

FINALIST FOR THE INDIEFAB AWARD IN LITERARY FICTION

FINALIST FOR THE INDIEFAB AWARD IN SHORT STORIES

ONE OF THE ROOT’S 15 NEW BOOKS BY BLACK AUTHORS TO DIVE INTO THIS SUMMER

ONE OF BOOKRIOTS’S 100 MUST READ SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS


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THE LOSS OF ALL LOST THINGS, Winner of the Elixir Press 2014 Fiction Award (2016) 

Amina Gautier’s THE LOSS OF ALL LOST THINGS won the Elixir Press 2014 Fiction Award. It is a short story collection that illuminates the beauty that can be found in inconsolable loss. Gautier leads us through terrible reality but leaves us with the promise of hope and redemption.

The stories explore the unpredictable ways in which characters negotiate, experience, and manage various forms of loss. They lose loved ones; they lose security and self-worth; they lose children; they lose their ability to hide and shield their emotions; they lose their reputations and their life savings. Often depicting the awkward moments when characters are torn between decision and outcome, THE LOSS OF ALL LOST THINGS focuses on moments of regret and yearning.

Contest judge, Phong Nguyen, had this to say about it: “Literary fiction that grips us and won’t let us go is notoriously rare. To offer us complex emotional experience and riveting narrative momentum, and then to leave the reader in contemplation of its sophisticated themes and subtle weave of objective correlatives… that is the stuff of literary greatness, of art that demands to be read in conversation with the canon… Gautier’s stories have you by the throat, and they surprise you with their mercy.”


A STARRED review: “Amina Gautier (At-Risk) is the consummate short story writer. . . [The collection is] quiet, subtle, observant—the stories of The Loss of All Lost Things are pictures of sadness that enrich an understanding of separation and despair. One after another they do what short fiction does so well: capture a character, scene or place that together are much bigger than they seem.”

—Bruce Jacobs, read more at: Shelf Awareness

“Gautier’s (Now We Will Be Happy, 2014) new collection of captivating stories features varied characters working through loss and vulnerability. In the titular tale, desperate parents cling to the hope that their missing child will be found. As days stretch into months and attention from the outside world fades, the couple find themselves forced to confront their shared misery and regret. In “A Cup of My Time,” an expectant mother of twins is faced with a potentially devastating decision after being told that a medical procedure may force her to choose which unborn child lives. In other tales, characters struggle with current realities in opposition to their hidden yearnings. “Intersections” charts the brief affair between a married professor, whose wife’s main concern is filling out adoption applications, and a second-year doctoral student. “What’s Best for You” follows a solitary librarian whose everyday considerations and interactions are inescapably hinged to her relationship with her teenage daughter. Gautier’s 15 tales deftly explore the force, complication, and delusion of longing as well as her characters’ desires for resolution and human connection.”

— Read more at: Booklist Review

“A masterful collection of stirring, deceptively simple tales.”

—Jennifer Bort Yacovissi, read more at: The Washington Independent Review of Books

“While both subtlety and control are central to Gautier’s prose, her writing sings in a wide range of registers. . . Gautier establishes an unwavering authorial power that allows her to unapologetically dive into territories many writers might shy away from.”

—Jenessa Abrams, read more at: KGB Bar & Lit

“Short story writer Amina Gautier has won not one but three different publishing contests throughout her career, including the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and the Elixir Press Fiction Award for her most recent collection, The Loss of All Lost Things. This latest work proves, once again, why she’s worthy of so many accolades. The stories in this collection are tight, focused snapshots of lives in various stages of loss: loss of confidence, of vision, of a child, a marriage. And while the topics can be heavy, after reading the stories together what emerges is not a sense of defeat but hope. Because, after all, “things that are lost can be found.””

—Laura Farmer, read more at: The Gazette

“The stories provide a compelling, intimate journey through losses that feel familiar even when they are inconceivable because they feel so true.”

—Elizabeth Gonzalez, read more at: Small Press Book Review

“Gautier’s writing is so compelling. I could re-read these shorts a million times and still find something new in each of them.”

—Read more at: We Read in Color

“Gautier exposes the irony inherent in loss.”

—Renee Simms, read more at: Fiction Advocate

“The stories here show that, no matter the hardships suffered by these characters, many are willing to keep trying, to keep working to either gain back their losses or hold tightly to what they have. Despite what we have lost, there is an echo of hope that maybe, possibly, we are headed for better futures.”

— Erin Flanagan, read the review at: Heavy Feather Review

“The collection strikes a balance between enough common ideas and themes to feel like a coherent whole and enough variety of character, setting, and stylistic choices to keep a reader engaged from story to story.”

—Rebecca Husseym, read the review at: Necessary Fiction

“And that’s how it was on the day Amina Gautier’s The Loss of All Lost Things reached me, now a lost thing myself: my husband off to work, the phone silent, and only four emails instead of the dozens that used to prove I was needed, important. I had quit my job to see if I could do something I’d never really been able to do. Gautier’s dark little book with the ominous title was in my hand and I looked at my Dachsunds. They looked back at me, waiting. I found a worn-enough Kantha quilt and settled in my red corduroy chair to read.”

— Anjanette Delgado, read more at: The Rumpus

“In this highly accomplished collection, Gautier throws the entire creative writer’s toolkit at everyday people and the many unexpected ways they experience and cope with loss. The Loss of All Lost Things is a book that shows that if contemporary readers are truly uninterested in collections of unlinked stories, then they are missing out on a range of rewards.”

— Leland Cheuk, read the review at: The Rumpus

“Manifestations of loss oscillate between the harrowing and the menial in Gautier’s haunting third collection. Her sharp, steely stories underscore, often absorbingly, the collisions of race and class, and the emotional trade-offs of attainment.”

— Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, read the review at: The New York Times Book Reviews

“… the writing is so crisp and spare and gorgeous that the pages turn themselves. The Loss of All Lost Things is a dark, compelling book.”

—Dipika Mukherjee, read the review at: Windy City Reviews

“Gautier is an extremely talented writer and knows how to handle characters, knows where to push them and when.”

— Michael Czyzniejewski, read more at: Story 366

“The Loss of All Lost Things is a dark and often disturbing collection, but Gautier is such a gifted storyteller, the characters and conflicts so compelling, the telling details so perfectly chosen, that you can’t turn away. Amina Gautier is a fearless writer who I am willing to follow anywhere.”

— Bill Wolfe, read more here

“As a reader, I lost myself in the depth and brilliance of Gautier’s storytelling.”

— John David Harding, read the review at: The Collagist

“…an emotionally striking read.”

Anne Logan, read the review at: I’ve Read This

FIVE STAR REVIEW:”A slow, steady, and breathtaking depiction of searing loss emerges; it unfolds in an almost uneventful manner, in prose that is never blatant, but is rather measured, commanding, and haunting.”

Amy O’Loughlin, read more at: Foreword Reviews

“The short stories in this latest collection from Amina Gautier are beautiful at their worst and devastating at their best. It’s difficult to describe the experience of reading this book, these stories together, because The Loss of All Lost Things is not the kind of book you can’t put down. It’s the kind of book that breaks your heart again and again then screams to be picked back up.”

Megan Fahey, read more at: Atticus Reviews

“The stories, careful in execution and haunting in their aftermath, will leave the reader breathless.”

Hope Wabuke, The Root

“We’re dealing with scenes so deep that we witness them in a poetic sense – through the residual feeling they evoke.”

Stephen Febick, read more at Portland Book Review

“The Loss of All Lost Things is both gripping and compelling.”

Tulsa Book Review

“…in this collection each character felt genuine and balanced.”

Patti J.V., read more here

“Gautier’s skillful writing makes all her protagonists’ emotions real and relatable. The mood the stories create, as a whole, is dense, rich and haunting.”

Tinky Weisblat, read more at The Greenfield Recorder

“…stories that explore a broad panorama of loss: of love, of family, of purpose, of children. But Gautier’s stories also offer some measure of redemption, or at least hope.”

Steve Pfarrer, read more at The Hampshire Gazette

“[Gautier] writes with precision and weight. Her stories feel solid, well-crafted, as well as unadorned. She avoids overt stylistic flourishes, and instead focuses on the truth of her characters’ suffering. In doing so, she creates a testament to enduring loss.”

Corey Campbell, read more at Gulf Coast

“Gautier’s narrators are unforgettable – they simply drop a story on your lap like a piece of gossip… Gautier draws her character with fine lines, bestowing upon them realistic details and personalities.”

Susan Muaddi Darraj, read more at Barrelhouse

” Gautier’s is a restrained talent and, at every step, she chooses precise articulation over gross exaggeration. Her new collection describes loss like a Cubist might: from every angle, height, vantage.”

Natalia Holtzman, read more at Green Mountains Review

“There is a profound sense of space in Gautier’s work. The precise prose and the understated tone signals the great expanse of emptiness, loneliness, and regret that makes up Gautier’s characters’ lives…Gautier’s collection relays a hushed sense of disaster, a distinct, smooth-faced melancholy. It is this dull throb, the pervading sense of disappointment, consistent throughout, which connects the communities in these stories.”

–Kasia Juno, read more at Town Crier

“Amina Gautier’s third collection of short stories The Loss of All Lost Things is an accomplished reflection of our terrible reality…the skill in which the stories are told are redemptive and addictive.”

–DM O’Connor, read more at New Pages

“Gautier does not shy away from depicting prejudice, or resentment, or self-aggrandizement, or confusion among this population – far from it. Her vision for her characters – and her undeniable success – is to set their raw, injured, or imperfect humanity on display.”

Luke S., read more at Basso Profundo

“Gautier creates a space where the reader can experience emotion alongside the stories’ characters, instead of simply reading about it. This collection serves to demystify any preconceived beliefs of loss and pain, to “let out a breath you hadn’t known you’d been holding,” as a way to remind us how human we really are.”

Shelby Vane, read more at Coal Hill Review

The Loss of All Lost Things, forms a powerful rumination on loss to reveal the complexity of its emotional spectrum. In fifteen short stories, Gautier’s characters journey introspectively through worlds of grief, providing an unfiltered experience of loss and all its aching vulnerability.”

Chioma Urama, read more at New Orleans Review

“Gautier’s stories contain the scope of novels… In a literary culture that privileges the novel, Gautier has emerged as a champion of the short story. She is, arguably, one of the more prolific American short-story writers of our moment, and The Loss of All Lost Things is an important and necessary book—a reminder of all the pain and beauty that exists at the margins of our lived experiences.”

Raul Palma, read more at Prairie Schooner

 


Purchase The Loss of All Lost Things:
Small Press Distribution 


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