Sassy and incisive, tender yet scalpel-sharp, the ten short tales in Lined Up Like Scars cut to the quick of modern life, dissecting the dysfunctional dynamics of an American family with a tragic secret at its heart. Meg Tuite traces girlhood, young womanhood, and the jealous loyalties of sisterhood through a series of ‘magpie moments’ that are often darkly funny – featuring inedible meatloaf, sloughed skin, mysterious boy-bodies, insurgent underwear, speed-dating with attitude, the street-stomping antics of a wannabe band, and an unnerving collector of American Girl dolls. But the comic coping strategies of children (licking walls, ingesting gym socks, humping stuffed animals) have chronic counterparts in those of adults (alcoholism, prescription drugs). And in the final story, an ageing father reveals a truth that his daughters will forever conceal behind Facebook façades.
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‘It begins with a question – What is it that brought us together? – and this brilliant collection answers it with ten stories inhabited by the strain of family, the echo of a house, the shared lives of friends and neighbors. Throughout is the wonder of Tuite’s prose – “The bark of your skin is a train-wreck of beauty.” Readers can feel the deep love that infuses each carefully chosen word, each masterfully crafted story.’
Randall Brown, author of Mad to Live and A Pocket Guide to Flash Fiction, founder and managing editor of Matter Press.
‘Meg Tuite’s Lined Up Like Scars artfully explores the irony, absurdity, tragedy, humor – and somehow, through it all, love – of dysfunctional family dynamics. The energy of Tuite’s off-kilter, poetic prose dazzles on every page of this fine book.’
Tom Hazuka, editor of Flash Fiction Funny, co-editor of Flash Fiction and Sudden Flash Youth.
‘Meg Tuite’s Lined Up Like Scars is a brave and beautiful book that both stuns and disturbs.’
Sheila O’Connor, author of Where No Gods Came, Tokens of Grace, and Keeping Safe the Stars.
‘Meg Tuite is a master music- and metaphor-maker, combining remarkable character complexity with almost impossible compression, as if she’s squeezed a four-hundred-page novel. Once readers have read this collection – in one sitting no less – they’ll be as obsessed with it as I am, reading it again and again and still saying, Did that really just happen?’
Lex Williford, author of Macauley’s Thumb, co-editor of Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction and Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction.
“With strikingly original language and scenarios, Meg Tuite, in Lined Up Like Scars, mines her characters for brave truths both personal and universal. ‘Did you know there’s a language in Mexico that only two people can speak?’ one of her characters poses. In another story the protagonist is asked if she’s ever ‘smelt lightening’. Fresh words and ideas run through all of these flashes, as Tuite cuts to the heart of what matters. In stories elegantly alive, she explores that uneven terrain we all travel – through life and with each other – where so much is at stake.”
—Robert Scotellaro, author of Measuring the Distance and What We Know So Far: Micro Fiction.
For a contents list, click here.