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Collective Gravities Review - cover

Collective Gravities by Chloe N. Clark

Pub­li­ca­tion Date: 7 July 2020

Pub­lish­er: word west

Genre: Short Fiction

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In Col­lec­tive Grav­i­ties, some­thing mag­i­cal is always just beneath the sur­face — the zom­bie apoc­a­lypse hap­pens, but the world stays rel­a­tive­ly the same; a woman begins to feel the earth mov­ing beneath her feet. In this fan­tas­ti­cal, genre-bend­ing col­lec­tion, Chloe N. Clark launch­es read­ers from Iowa, to out­er space, and back again. Lyri­cal, fun­ny, and full of tran­scen­dent beau­ty, Col­lec­tive Grav­i­ties is a cause for cel­e­bra­tion: an astro­nom­i­cal­ly gift­ed writer, who, in twen­ty-six sto­ries, shows us an entire world (and beyond) full of heart­break, hope, redemp­tion, and wonder.

My Review

I can say with quite a bit of con­fi­dence that Chloe N. Clark is one of my favorite con­tem­po­rary authors. I’ve been fol­low­ing her on social media for a while, which first intro­duced me to her poems, sto­ries, and essays. Then, I had the chance to review Your Strange For­tune a while back. So, unsur­pris­ing­ly, I was thrilled to have the chance to read Col­lec­tive Grav­i­ties and explore a whole new world—quite literally. 

This is one of a few short sto­ry col­lec­tions I’ve read over the past cou­ple of years and it’s tru­ly one of the best with­in that list. The book has so much to offer, includ­ing one piece that’s stuck with me, in particular. 

“The Col­lec­tive Grav­i­ty of Stars” begins with an incred­i­ble open­ing sen­tence: “It was an ordi­nary spring day when Cal­lie died.” Of course, that line leads into an equal­ly remark­able open­ing para­graph, and a sto­ry that’s noth­ing short of transformative. 

Cal­lie was twelve when she told her par­ents about the move­ments of the earth, though it had begun much ear­li­er in life. Some­times, when she thought hard enough, she could remem­ber being in her crib and feel­ing the earth rock­ing her, gen­tly as a lul­la­by. As a child, it was almost fun, the whirl, the rush.

—“The Col­lec­tive Grav­i­ty of Stars” from Col­lec­tive Grav­i­ties by Chloe N. Clark

Admit­ted­ly, this isn’t the only sto­ry that’s stayed in the back of my mind since I first picked up Col­lec­tive Grav­i­ties. But I won’t spoil the mag­ic of this col­lec­tion any fur­ther. I can sim­ply urge you to get your hands on a copy and expe­ri­ence it for yourself. 

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About the Author

Chloe N. Clark has nev­er met an Oreo she wouldn’t try. She writes poet­ry and fic­tion, and some essays about food, most­ly, but also does crit­i­cal schol­ar­ship in the his­to­ry of hor­ror, gen­der and sci­ence fic­tion, mon­stros­i­ty and oth­er­ing, and inclu­sive prac­tices in ped­a­gogy. She is the found­ing co-edi­tor-in-chief of online lit­er­ary jour­nal, Cot­ton Xenomorph.


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