About the author
Paige Clark is a Chinese/American/Australian fiction writer, researcher and teacher from Los Angeles. Her fiction has appeared in Meanjin, Meniscus and New World Writing. In 2019, she was runner-up for the Peter Carey Short Story Award and shortlisted for the David Harold Tribe Fiction Award. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication Theory from Boston University and a Master of Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing from the University of Melbourne, where she is currently at work on her PhD. Her research addresses the relationship between race, craft, and the teaching of creative writing. She lives in Melbourne with her partner, Alex, and their dog, Freddie. She is Haunted is her debut collection of short stories.
About the book
A mother cuts her daughter’s hair because her own starts falling out. A woman leaves her boyfriend because he reminds her of a corpse; another undergoes brain surgery to try to live more comfortably in higher temperatures. A widow physically transforms into her husband so that she does not have to grieve.
In She Is Haunted, these renditions of the author search for recognition and connection, and, more than anything else, small moments of empathy. But in what world will she move beyond her haunted past and find compassion for herself?
With piercing insights into transnational Asian identity, intergenerational trauma and grief, the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships, the inexplicable oddities of female friendship, and the love of a good dog, Paige Clark has crafted an exquisite, moving and sophisticated debut work of fiction. Full of wit and humour, She Is Haunted announces an entrancing new literary voice as contemporary as it is unique.
Sometimes a new literary voice seems to spring almost fully-formed onto the page, and this is the case with writer, researcher, and teacher Paige Clark, in her arresting and confident debut collection. Featuring an array of protagonists who are almost all women caught in moments of unease, uncertainty and transformation, Clark’s assured, inventive voice never wavers as she moves across eclectic, strange, and sometimes surreal subject matter.
From the opening story which crackles with mordant wit and urgency as a pregnant woman makes breakneck bargains with a smug, unpredictable God about her unborn baby, to the nuanced ‘Times I’ve Wanted to be You’ where a newly-widowed woman begins to wear her deceased partner’s clothes in an attempt to deal with grief over his loss, Clark expertly threads together fractured lines of intergenerational, transnational, and diasporic identity, as well as satirical takes on the flattening coldness of bureaucracy and the minefields of mother-daughter relationships, and female friendships.
If this is what she can do with her debut work, we can’t wait to see what she writes next.
“Every story reads like a thought experiment, or a fragment of self; hyperreal, philosophical, and rich in non-generic symbolism.” – Nanci Nott, ArtsHub
“Clark’s conversational and comic approach to emotionally charged subjects and to subconscious fears and desires is more affecting than one might expect, and more entertaining.” – Francesca Sasnaitis, Australian Book Review
“Paige Clark’s debut collection She is Haunted might just be one of the best books of the year.” – Emily Paull, The AU Review
Read ‘My husband finished his album from hospital. His death taught me how to live’ by Paige Clark in The Guardian
Read ‘5 Questions with Paige Clark’ via Liminal Mag
Watch Paige Clark discuss She Is Haunted via Avid Reader Bookshop