Girls in Trouble
Winner of the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction
An abandoned girl, a savaged heart, a fatal hit and run—the thirteen stories in this powerful collection explore the scattered wreckage of life’s survivors. The characters in Girls in Trouble struggle to overcome loss and find their way through a world of desire and menace, redemption and error. Normalcy, a state always just beyond reach, glitters and beckons, impelling them forward. A relationship disintegrates while a pot of crabs boils. A man vows to end his destructive lifestyle before it ruins his family and future. A young woman fights to free herself from the weight of an unwanted inheritance. A girl finds herself lost in the storm of her parent’s break up. These stories crackle and sing with an urgency and longing that lingers long after the last page is read.
"If only the girls of Douglas Light’s spell-binding collection, Girls in Trouble, knew that a storyteller with such talent and insight was telling the complicated truth of their lives. Light enters the minds, hearts, and hurts of these characters with prose that is often lyrical, and always hypnotic. You will ache for these girls, most importantly you will root for them!"—Heidi Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
"A collection—any collection, whether of art, or stories, or Hummel figurines—implies two questions. How are these things similar and, more subtly, how are they different? Girls in Trouble, fittingly, takes difference as its great subject—the differences between men and women, here and there, facts and truth. It’s the acute, exacting scrutiny of what lies between these pairings—the history between a man and a woman, the mystery between fact and truth, the ‘somewhere between where we don’t want to be and where we’re going,’ as one character puts it—that truly distinguishes this work. From terse and diverse fragments, Douglas Light has assembled a coherent, echoing vision of the world between—a world we all, in our own ways, inhabit."—Peter Ho Davies, contest judge and author of The Welsh Girl and The Ugliest House in the World: Stories
"In this kaleidoscopic collection of thirteen short stories . . . Light deftly explores the rocky terrain of human emotion. . . . In the most subtle of manners, Light portrays the essential paradigm of adolescence. . . . [He] probes beneath complex layers of what it means to be alive, revealing the occasionally magnificent terrain of selfhood."—ForeWord
"Light's stories go down easy...The stories are fun to read and...fun to see being put together one word and sentence at a time. Light makes it look easy."—Jon Morgan Davies, Short Story Reader
"Girls in Trouble is a fine and thoughtful collection of fiction, very much recommended."—Midwest Book Review