LEX Copyright Iroda / LEX Copyright Office

by Deb Olin Unferth


We all know stories are tough to sell, but it will take you no time at all to read the 39 stories in this wonderful collection and you won’t soon forget them.

It feels like reading Lydia Davis or George Saunders for the first time.

Encountering Deb Unferth’s charmingly weird, terrifically mundane and disturbingly honest stories is akin to that.

But don’t take it from me, take it from these guys:

“Deb Olin Unferth’s stories are so smart, fast, full of heart, and distinctive in voice—

each an intense little thought-system going out earnestly in search of strange new truths.

What an important and exciting talent.”

—George Saunders

"Chock-full of emotional insight and comic verve, Unferth’s beguiling stories are not to be missed."

(Kirkus, starred review)

"Both traditionally told stories like 'Pet' and ingeniously structured pieces like 'An Opera Season' and 'Abandon Normal Instruments'

showcase Unferth’s razor-sharp conversational prose and idiosyncratic blend of normal and weird, idealistic and disillusioned."

(Publishers Weekly)

"bitter and funny and so charming”

(NPR Books)

"incisive, bitingly funny, and whipsmart"

(The Millions)

WAIT TILL YOU SEE ME DANCE published by Graywolf in the US.

For more than ten years, Deb Olin Unferth has been publishing startlingly askew, wickedly comic, cutting-edge fiction in magazines such as Granta, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, NOON, and The Paris Review. Her stories are revered by some of the best American writers of our day, but until now there has been no stand-alone collection of her short fiction.

Wait Till You See Me Dance consists of several extraordinary longer stories as well as a selection of intoxicating very short stories. In the chilling “The First Full Thought of Her Life,” a shooter gets in position while a young girl climbs a sand dune. In “Voltaire Night,” students compete to tell a story about the worst thing that ever happened to them. In “Stay Where You Are,” two oblivious travelers in Central America are kidnapped by a gunman they assume to be an insurgent—but the gunman has his own problems.

An Unferth story lures you in with a voice that seems amiable and lighthearted, but it swerves in sudden and surprising ways that reveal, in terrifying clarity, the rage, despair, and profound mournfulness that have taken up residence at the heart of the American dream. These stories often take place in an exaggerated or heightened reality, a quality that is reminiscent of the work of Donald Barthelme, Lorrie Moore, and George Saunders, but in Unferth’s unforgettable collection she carves out territory that is entirely her own.

Deb Olin Unferth is an American short-story writer and novelist. She is the author of a collection of stories, Minor Robberies, and a novel, Vacation, both published by McSweeney's.

Her stories have appeared in Harper's, Fence, AGNI and other magazines. She is a frequent contributor to Noon. In 2009 she received a Creative Capital Grant from the Warhol Foundation and was also the recipient of the Cabell First Novelist Award for Vacation. She also has received a Pushcart Prize.

Unferth currently teaches creative writing at Wesleyan University.