Little Miseries

This Is Not a Story About My Childhood. A Novel.

by Kimberly Olson Fakih

On Sale: 01/10/2023

Little Miseries

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Little Miseries

This Is Not a Story About My Childhood. A Novel.

by Kimberly Olson Fakih

On Sale: 01/10/2023


About the Book

Set in Iowa and Minnesota in the 60s and 70s, Little Miseries is a Midwestern Gothic where sometimes the misery is just that—little—and sometimes it is epic and yawning, capable of swallowing every childhood memory. There are the miseries the Castles will talk about—old family lore about a great, great, great uncle who was split in two while connecting railroad cars—and the misery none of them will face. There are days at the lake, placid except for inexplicable tension the parents won't address and the three Castle children don't have names for. There are stories about sex and gore at cocktail parties, around bonfires, at sleepovers, in classrooms, and in the newspaper. Everyday growing pains are shadowed by the abduction of a local girl, reports of a massacre of nurses, and the harm done by strangers and by those who are charged to care for children. To survive childhood is to survive all of these miseries and tragedies, because growing up means waking up to a world that can be random and brutal.

With some thematic overlap with Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm or if Sally Draper from Mad Men got to tell her side of the story, Little Miseries is set in a time and place when parents didn’t talk much to their children but they certainly talked around them—while dipping into whiskey or rum punch, whether on a long drive, on the beach, or in the comfort of their own home. Little Miseries is a tribute to what it means to come into awareness, to be a part of a family unit, and to bear responsibility for those you loved and who have been harmed along the way.

Critical Praise

"The book... shows how catastrophic the secret world of grown-ups can truly be on the delicate web that is a family... it shows Fakih as a gifted chronicler of children's helplessness and familial angst." — Kirkus Reviews

"[In] this sharp depiction of a Midwestern girl's coming-of-age... Fakih's vivid depictions of Kimmy's adolescent dilemmas blend nostalgia for the period with a visceral sense of her protagonist's pain." — Publishers Weekly

"This is one of my favorite books of the year. Kimberly Olson Fakih perfectly captures the ways in which children see everything adults wish they would miss, and the intense effects those things, both the good and the bad, have on them as they grow. From the beginning to end, Kimmy is a character that drives home that the adults around her continuously let her and her siblings down, and sometimes with a row of sorrows and a journal of broken things, it is up to the child to stop generational curses and step up to bring the little miseries to the light."  — Lydia McCollum, Still North Books, Hanover, NH

"Kimberly Olshan Fakih's Little Miseries is a lively and energetic account of growing up in the Midwest in the last century, in a variegated family assailed by disasters great and small." — Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of Truthtelling

"Little Miseries, indeed. But first there's joy, wonder and resiliency. Fakih lovingly captures the rapture and mysteries of childhood en route to a loss of innocence that is heartbreaking yet triumphant." — Michael H. Weber, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and co-writer of (500) Days of Summer

Praise for Kimberly Olson Fakih: "Fakih offers a refreshing and often humorous child's-eye view of the world…”  — School Library Journal

Praise for High on the Hog: “…Fakih's characters are leading fully examined (and discussed) lives; but though her narrative is leisurely, it holds interest with its unexpected flashes of humor and its engaging evocation of the Heartland and some of its sons and daughters, as well as the tantalizing mystery. A beautifully constructed book, rich in offbeat descriptions and exchanges that leave room for just the kind of serendipitous insights that ‘GS’—who does turn up—extols.” — Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Grandpa Putter & Granny Hoe: “…It's all amusingly recorded in Fakih's briskly lilting narrative and neatly cadenced dialogue. … meanwhile, the grands' bickering makes a comical stand-in for the more bitter conflicts children endure between parents or siblings.” — Kirkus Reviews


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781953002204
  • ISBN 10: 195300220X
  • Imprint: Delphinium
  • On Sale: 01/10/2023
  • Pages: 256
  • List Price:34.50 CAD
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Biographical
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Family Life / Siblings
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Small Town & Rural
  • BISAC4 : FICTION / Contemporary Women
  • BISAC5 : FICTION / Coming of Age

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