Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Eight enchanting stories about young Americans fighting for their lives at home in the era of the assassination of Osama bin Laden. 

Capturing the lyricism of lives without a future in southern Illinois, southern Indiana, and New York City, Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country introduces us to Chavisa Woods’s people. They are smart and poor, lost and hoping not to be found, with high hopes but few expectations—inhabitants, mostly young, of a hidden country without a name that exists within America. 

The eight stories in Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country bring the underbelly of America into vivid focus. The strange and unique characters in this collection include a “zombie” who secretly resides in a local cemetery; a queer teen goth who is facing ostracism from her small-town, evangelical church; a Brooklyn artist who learns more about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict than he ever wanted to; and the UFOs that trouble a group of friends in the rural Midwest. And then there is the woman who leaves New York City once a year to go home to see her “little little” and “big little” brothers and bear witness to the injuries from stripping copper wire from abandoned houses, the smell of the meth lab in the woods nearby, the sounds of the police scanner radio, and the early deaths that happen for a whole host of reasons.

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“Set at the irresistible junction of toxic reality and the truly strange, the electric unexplainable, Chavisa Woods stirs up stories of drugs and dykes, mutant mohawks, the Gaza Strip and green glowing orbs. Here, the outsider becomes truly alien. Murakami meets the meth heads. Woods delivers a nation of cigarettes in language both lyric and thrilling. Reader, you have never before seen anything like this.”

“Chavisa Woods's Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country is part Flannery O'Connor, part Kelly Link: darkly funny and brilliantly human, urgently fantastical and implacably realistic. This is one of the best short story collections I've read in years, and it should be required reading for anyone who's trying to understand America in 2017.”

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Chavisa Woods is a writer and artist based in Brooklyn. Her debut collection of short stories, Love Does Not Make Me Gentle or Kind, was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Debut Fiction, and in 2009 she was the recipient of a Jerome Foundation Award for emerging writers. Woods has read or performed at The Whitney Museum, Penn State University, the New York Vision Festival, the NYC HOWL festival, and the New York Hot Festival. Her writing has appeared in the New York Quarterly, the Evergreen Review, Union Station, and the Brooklyn Rail.