From Jenny Maattala’s review in Southern Review of Books: “The morbid elements that draw a person to make the decisions they make and the exploration of whether or not forgiveness and redemption are possible, all come together so naturally that the reader is left pondering these characters long after the stories have concluded and the book is back on the shelf.”
From Emily Choate’s review on Chapter 16: “Our Sister Who Will Not Die will appeal best to readers who are drawn to characters with precarious footholds on social acceptance, or even on reality. Bernard trains her clear-eyed focus onto her characters’ treacherous inner landscapes, neither absolving nor condemning their choices.”
From John Wegner’s review in Necessary Fiction: “Danger lurks beneath the surface of Rebecca Bernard’s Our Sister Who Will Not Die. The characters in Bernard’s eleven finely crafted short stories live on the cusp of hazard.”
Selected by Nick White as the 2021 winner of the Non/Fiction Prize from The Journal at The Ohio State University. Now available from Mad Creek Books or wherever you order books! Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.
From the back cover…
A man recently released from prison returns to the dating scene and struggles to find the right time to reveal his long-past murder conviction. A grieving mother considers her own role in her son’s death. A boy enables the destructive addiction of the person he’s in love with. A dog, witness to his owner’s violent acts, begins to sweat. Each story in Rebecca Bernard’s Our Sister Who Will Not Die brings the reader face to face with the frailties of human character—and demonstrates how the yearning for love and connection allows beauty and resilience to emerge from darkness. In questioning traditional formulations of good and evil, Bernard’s stories ask us to recognize our own culpabilities and acknowledge our shared humanity. None of us is the worst thing we’ve ever done, these stories compel us to believe. Hope is always worth letting in.
Advance Praise for Our Sister Who Will Not Die
“If Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior and Ottessa Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World had a lovechild, it would be Our Sister Who Will Not Die. Wild and subversive in the very best ways, these stories had me by the throat.” —Nick White, author of How to Survive a Summer
“Rebecca Bernard plumbs her characters’ darkest moments to extract something compassionate and gleamingly alive. One after the next her stories astonished me with their humanity and raw courage.” —Lee Conell, author of The Party Upstairs
“These edgy, unflinching, yet compassionate stories plunge us deep into the complexity of messy lives, deep into the minds of people we might prefer to dismiss. These complicated people—deftly brought to life on these pages—are like those who live in the world around us. They may even be us.” —Leslie Pietrzyk, author of Admit This to No One
“Rebecca Bernard’s stories are scary exactly the way real life would be scary if we were aware of how close we were to great joy or great horror every step we take. I constantly felt as if I were standing on the crumbling edge of a cliff, entranced by the breathtaking view.” —Tony Earley, author of Mr. Tall
“I read Our Sister Who Will Not Die in one sitting, as if diving into dark waters. After each story, I resurfaced with a gasp, certain only that I must dive again, reach deeper. A dazzling darkness beckons at the heart of these stories. The people Bernard writes into existence have unsettled me deeply. I care about them with an intensity that stuns me.” —Miroslav Penkov, author of East of the West
“This ambitious, daring story collection takes the reader to strange and unsettling places. Bernard explores, with great skill and unfailing compassion, subjects which many other writers would simply find too daunting to take on.” —Ian McGuire, author of The Abstainer
“All real lives are full of dark instincts, lost chances, moments in which everything hangs in the balance, or tips sideways. We’re struck by chance, how one thing becomes another over a lifetime. Our Sister Who Will Not Die is all about these moments and connections: moments of grief but also loose threads that reconnect in a profound way. A truly great story collection.” —Scott Blackwood, author of See How Small