Sorrow, a novel, published in August 2013 by Braddock Avenue Books.
Reflection on the origins of Sorrow appears in Necessary Fiction’s Research Notes series for August 2, 2013.
Sorrow was a finalist for the Northern California Book Awards.
Some generous words of advance praise:
“Sorrow is a devastating, gorgeous. impossible, unstoppable book–powered by unbearable desire, murder, a stunning turbulence of language and story. The real triumphs of this novel are Anita, Magda, Danny, Tomas, Cruz, people you will never forget even though tragedy, abuse, and circumstance did their best to render them invisible. A tour de force.”
– Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues and In the Body of the World
“What Sorrow illustrates with such dark and devastating beauty is that the heart that is forced out of innocence into terrible knowledge will one day utter its grief, and when it does, the sound, like its source, will be unimaginable. One of the many astonishing things about Catherine Gammon’s novel is the exacting emotional and psychological candor with which it is written. Never does the book blanch for the sake of false comfort; never does it allow the reader to dodge harrowing truths, those truths humanity most urgently needs to confront. It is a work of profound courage and integrity.”
– Kellie Wells, author of Fat Girl, Terrestrial.
“Think of a female Dostoevsky. Think of a female Raskolnikov. Gammon’s modern turn on the classic tale takes us into the mind, heart and soul of a woman who has been the victim of sexual abuse in childhood; but, in so doing, she illuminates the dynamics of power and redemption to which we are universally subject. Sorrow is a stunning page-turner and unforgettable.”
– Toi Derricotte, author of The Black Notebooks and The Undertaker’s Daughter
Novel: Isabel Out of the Rain
Praise from the jacket, 1991
Catherine Gammon is that rarest of entities, a gifted prose stylist with vision and high moral purpose. Her work is intense, penetrating, and about as ephemeral as the HImalayas. Brilliant is a term at risk of fading from overuse; we must all be careful not to devalue it any further by declaring a new writer of brilliance every other week. With that in mind, I hereby spend one of my extremely limited stock. Gammon is a brilliant writer, and an important one.
Catherine Gammon’s novel has the mesmerizing quality of rain—
Illusive yet intensely physical,
Haunting yet somehow comforting,
Familiar yet consistently brand new.
It melts time.
It washes away that which is not true.
It’s a marvelous book. Its life and its range take my breath away.
From Publishers Weekly
Gammon crafts a solid psychological mystery with Oedipal undercurrents that arise from a mist of confusion and nightmarish flashbacks—of Vietnam, of sexual abuse—becoming clear only at the finish. Sometimes the prose in this first novel is thick, asking more questions than it answers. But the conclusion strikes with force owing to its stealthy, veiled approach.
Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Fiction from the 1970s, early stories of loss and obsession, voices from another century, another planet, voices exploring themselves, both innocent and haunted, a time capsule, message in a bottle from a forgotten present, memory of the future. Or simply a collection of stories, an old collection, early successes and failures, the young writer this older writer used to be.
Beautifully reviewed at Grab the Lapels by Jennifer Vosters.
Workshop: Writing As A Wisdom Project
Recent Short Publications
“Juliet in the Temple Kitchen,” The Collagist, October 2017
“Juliet and Brother John,” The Collagist, April 2017
“Her Life As A Nomad,” Storyscape, November 2016
“In Absence,” Kenyon Review Online, December 2015
“What Is Romeo?” The Collagist, November 2015
“Kafka Writes to Romeo / Romeo Writes Back” in Artifice, Issue 4 (November 2011). And check out Artifice’s playful inquiry into apocalypse.
None of This Is Real, by Miranda Mellis
Fat Man and Little Boy, by Mike Meginnis
Beautiful Soon Enough, by Margo Berdeshevsky
Bald New World, by Peter Tieryas Liu
Zen and the White Whale, by Daniel Herman
The Hidden Lamp, ed. by Florence Caplow and Susan Moon