This Angel on My Chest

With a delicate balance of cleverness and emotion, the sixteen stories in Pietrzyk's collection explore the event of her husband's sudden death at the breakfast table in 1997. . . . The author's wit, clarity, and literary inventiveness dance circles around the omnipresent sadness, making this book a prime example of the furious creative energy that can explode from the collision of grief with talent and craftsmanship. . . . [This Angel on My Chest] is the winner of the distinguished Drue Heinz Literature Prize, upholding its tradition of excellence in short fiction. Like Magic Rocks in a fishbowl, these stories turn the stones of grief into something bright, crystalline, mesmerizing.
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Winner of the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize

WINNER OF THE 2015 DRUE HEINZ LITERATURE PRIZE
Selected by Jill McCorkle
This Angel on My Chest is a collection of unconventionally linked stories, each about a different young woman whose husband dies suddenly and unexpectedly. Ranging from traditional stories to lists, a quiz, a YouTube link, and even a lecture about creative writing, the stories grasp to put into words the ways in which we all cope with unspeakable loss.
Based on the author's own experience of losing her husband at age thirty-seven, this book explores the resulting grief, fury, and bewilderment, mirroring the obsessive nature of grieving. The stories examine the universal issues we face at a time of loss, as well as the specific concerns of a young widow: support groups, in-laws, insurance money, dating, and remarriage. This Angel on My Chest ultimately asks, how is it possible to move forward with life while “till death do you part” rings in your ears—and, how is it possible not to?

224 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

March, 2017

isbn : 9780822964452

about the author

Leslie Pietrzyk

Leslie Pietrzyk is the author of two novels, Pears on a Willow Tree and A Year and a Day. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in many journals, including Gettysburg Review, The Sun, Shenandoah, River Styx, Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, New England Review, and the Washington Post Magazine. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Pietrzyk is a member of the core fiction faculty at the Converse low-residency MFA program and teaches in the MA Program in Writing at Johns Hopkins University.

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Leslie Pietrzyk