Black Lawrence Press

I Am Faithful


  • I am so in love with, so in awe of, so grateful for I Am Faithful. Jenny Irish writes girlhood like none other, splaying its great intensity, its loneliness, sufferings, longings, imaginings, and let-downs all. Cruelty and love coalesce into stories that feel so deeply lived in and inhabited that they keep living in one's blood like fairy tales. These essayistic, poetic stories are dreamy and gritty in their utter and heartbreaking realism. Finally, here they are: stories for girls like me who grew up between nothing and a heartbeat. I followed each and every dark tendril in this collection to its alluring and enchanting entanglement.

    —Jenny Boully, author of Betwixt and Between
  • I Am Faithful is often beautiful, occasionally ugly, and true on every page. Jenny Irish is a writer of great skill and intelligence and most of all heart.
    —Kyle Minor, author of Praying Drunk
  • In this collection of stories, Jenny Irish's sparse, raw prose gathers briny New England interiors, the eyes of old dogs, absent mothers and cold lovers. Each character is filled with the ache of absence, each story a Russian doll packed with glass. You'll want to cradle them to your chest, even knowing that, as you open them, the shards will cut you. A quiet, confident, and unassuming work.
    —Jen Michalski, author of The Summer She Was Under Water
  • What is it to be poor? Discovering an ATM’s smallest withdrawal is more than the little left in your account? Counting out food stamps or working phone scams? Living in a bleak rental or a house made of ‘shiplap and tarpaper and corrugated tin’? Or is it something far more subterranean and corrosive, like the backwards kindness of a grandfather who guns down stray dogs? Or is it women who, with their bodies as their only asset, believe it ‘better to have a husband who beat you bloody than to be single’? And what of their daughters, of their perceived competition, such as a little girl shining ‘like a scrubbed apple’ before her body is found locked in ice? The question of privilege—of what it can buy, really—demands uncomfortable, often violent answers, and Jenny Irish’s unflinching collection, I Am Faithful, holds steady aim, writing the truth, bitter as it may be, that few understand but everyone needs to hear. Reader, witness: here, in burnished, exquisite prose, is a precise telling of class in America, a portrait of those who must compromise to survive, who scrape and save, and though acting out of the grim fury misery provides, they never, under whatever circumstance, deserve to be called ‘trash.
    —Nickole Brown, author of Sister and Fanny Says
  • Often slyly funny and always devastatingly observant, Jenny Irish writes about the precarities of our moment with gorgeous prose and heartbreaking acuity.
    —Laura Kipnis, author of Unwanted Advances
  • Lovely, brutal, and absolutely mesmerizing. Jenny Irish is a genius, and I Am Faithful is a revelation.
    —Jennifer duBois, author of The Spectators
  • Jenny Irish's stories are unflinching glimpses into messy human lives. Finely crafted, the beautiful sentences build. There is ache, there is longing, and then, inevitably, the story bares its teeth.
    —Callan Wink author of Dog Run Moon
  • The characters in I Am Faithful live in the ever-more-uncertain American margins, riding the line between transgression and transcendence, searching for something worthy of the terrifying gift of their faith. In sentences exactingly detailed, blackly comic, and genuinely poignant, Jenny Irish writes prose for the body: her stories stick to your ribs, jostle your heart, jag your muscles with their rhythm and thwack. I Am Faithful is a wondrous book.
    —Murray Farish, author of Inappropriate Behavior
  • There’s poetry woven through these stories, a word not wasted, making Irish’s characters luminous and present. A person’s past is never a thing left behind but the battered motor dragging them ever forward. Jenny Irish writes without fear, divulging the truths that we humans so often keep from one another. Each story resonates through its final sentence.
    —Bojan Louis, author of Currents
  • I devoured these spiky, knowing, unforgettable stories, which keenly dissect the dangers of girlhood, of womanhood, in America. Jenny Irish writes with vast insight, surprising jolts of humor, and true empathy for her characters and the broken world that made them.
    —Belle Boggs, author of The Gulf and The Art of Waiting
  • In I Am Faithful, Jenny Irish dissects the American corpus with a surgeon’s precision, exposing the both the beauty and ugliness beneath the quotidian surface. These are powerful and unsettling stories, and their publication establishes Irish as a truth-teller of the highest order: lyrical, insightful, and admirably fearless.
    —Adam Wilson, author of What’s Important Is Feeling
  • In her wonderful debut collection of stories, Jenny Irish brings us up close to a darkly personal cast of women as they struggle through pain, loss, and transformation. Irishfixes her gaze on the difficult terrain where beauty and meaning are often found among the wreckage. By focusing on the sites of their wounds, we are asked to consider all that her characters have lost and overcome as we are invited to change alongside them. In a world that seems to require at times our loss of hope, I Am Faithful is an intimate proclamation of faith.
    —Jarret Middleton, author of Darkansas

Jenny Irish

Jenny Irish lives in Tempe, Arizona, where she is an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University. Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Blackbird, Catapult, Colorado Review, Epoch, The Georgia Review, andPloughshares.

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