Books

These Lowly Objects is a hilarious historical romp, whose rich mystery often progresses by destabilizing what the reader thinks they know, always promising the real truth must surely be just a few pages farther in. McGowan’s gorgeous prose captivates throughout, creating a richly imagined caper full of honest oddities and clever games, surprising disguises and brilliant deceptions.

Matt Bell, author of Appleseed: A Novel and Refuse to be Done

Cate McGowan’s whipsmart storytelling sings like poetry, and her indomitable protagonist, Jules Lalande, kicks irreverence up to another level. It takes courage for an artist to be different, for an artist to be an artist. In These Lowly Objects, famous painters, authors, and truth-seekers rub elbows, and the masters are as flawed as the mere mortals. McGowan’s writing is extraordinary, and this is a stunning work of fiction.

Brad Watson, author of The Heaven of Mercury and Miss Jane

In These Lowly Objects, Cate McGowan has fashioned one of the great fictional characters of our time in Jules Lalande, Dadaist extraordinaire. From his Dickensian childhood alongside a second cousin (and later, wife), Isobel, McGowan tracks—in rich, rigorous prose—the Zelig-like Lalande’s wanderings through fin de siècle Paris as he rubs elbows with Degas and Cézanne, fights in World War I, lands in New York with Breton, becomes a professional boxer, hangs out with Duchamp, and disappears in Cuba—or does he? Enter this remarkably imagined, enchanted world and discover the many delights of McGowan’s marvelous creation.

Robin Lippincott, author of Blue Territory and In the Meantime

As I read these remarkable stories, I fell headlong for Cate McGowan’s tender, fierce, and deliciously complicated characters. Gritty and gorgeous, True Places Never Are is an astonishing collection and McGowan is a one-of-a-kind talent.

Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel and I Hold the Wolf by the Ears

Cate McGowan’s debut story collection, True Places Never Are, travels nimbly through geography and time, taking us through cities of the past and present via timeless rural towns. Here, we encounter the fullness of human existence distilled into moments of elemental violence, thwarted artistic ambition, and palpable yearning for true connection—with family, lovers, and the land.

Wendy Rawlings, author of The Agnostics and Time for Bed

Cate McGowan’s first collection of stories, True Places Never Are, is a virtuosity of language and storytelling suffused with grace and wisdom. Her range of narrative appears limitless, her vantage point sublime and sensuous, earthy yet etheric. Each story is jeweled and brutally rich with joy and sorrow. Possessed of an eye fierce for truth and a passionate empathy for the human condition, Cate McGowan gives us, in True Places Never Are, a stunning debut collection, a literary treasury of tragedy, honor and hope.

Melissa Pritchard, author of Palmerino and A Solemn Pleasure

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