You Only Get Letters From Jail
from Tin House Books
"In this accomplished, moving collection of stories about boys, she proves the uselessness of the old dictum that you should write what you know. "
— New York Times
". . . fall in love with Jodi Angel and her new story collection, You Only Get Letters from Jail . . ."
". . . Jodi Angel writes with a voice dripping with sweat and Schlitz. You Only Get Letters from Jail is about young men and women teetering on a razor’s bloody edge, living lives in which cheap thrills are the only kind."
"Angel is an indie-press star."
"... Angel bravely does what many writers are afraid to do. In tough, sometimes brutally lyrical language, she gives young, desperate voices - including their slang - full rein of the stage."
—San Francisco Chronicle
The prose in Angel’s story collection, all about young men who can’t seem to grow up, has a distinct, dreamy sentimentalism to it; somehow, it seems to hold your hand as you turn each page. But it has teeth, too. She depicts vivid scenes of places you’d never choose to go, and yet, you’d never dare turn away. Nor would you dare forget them. It’s a feat.
THE HISTORY OF VEGAS
from Chronicle Books
--electronic version out now--
"Flawless" ("JT Leroy"); "thoroughly enjoyable read" (San Francisco Chronicle); "wonderful, terrible, dangerous stories" (Pam Houston). Jodi Angel's collection now in paperback received widespread acclaim encapsulated by the Buffalo Daily News: "She's got gripping tales to tell, and each comes across as that rare bird of fiction: the utterly fresh story." The teenaged characters face situations spiraling out of their control, and each totters between disaster and grace. "This precarious world is putty in Jodi Angel's nimble hands," hails the Los Angeles Times. Written with raw directness and understanding that makes these ten stories impossible to forget, The History of Vegas is a must-read debut.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME
Jodi Angel’s first collection of short stories, The History of Vegas, was published in 2005 and was named as a San Francisco Chronicle "Best Book of 2005" as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Review "Discovery." Her work has appeared in Tin House, Zoetrope: All-Story, and the Sycamore Review, among other publications and anthologies. Her stories have received several Pushcart Prize nominations and she was selected for Special Mention in 2007. Her story, "A Good Deuce," was noted as a "Distinguished Story" in The Best American Stories 2012, and her story, "Snuff," was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2014. She lives in Northern California with way too many dogs.
Other Places to Find Stories by Jodi Angel
"Centrifugal Force" gets analyzed via podcast.
The Offing--"how to hook"
" . . . and it’s those shoes that you keep thinking about because you have never seen anything like them before and they had to cost a lot of money, and Kimmie R makes money and you want to make some, too."
What Other People Are Saying
“Jodi Angel writes like an angel—in the full sense of the designation–which is to say someone fallen out of the armpit of a restless deity—sharp-eyed, ruthless,and tender at the same time. I’d walk a long way to hear her read these stories, and plan to buy a half dozen copies just so I can give them away saying, ‘Look at this. You have never before read anything like this.’”
—Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
"You Only Get Letters From Jail is one of the finest and truest collections of 'American' short stories I have ever read. Set in small towns among muscle cars and grange halls and rock and roll and damaged vets and divorced parents, Jodi Angel's stories explore in sharp and often funny prose the lives of teenagers trying their best to make sense of things in this world that, more often than not, remain inexplicable."
-- Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time
"Jodi Angel embodies this pack of low-rent, no-count, hard-luck, heart-tugging teenage boys so thoroughly that one can only conclude she was one, in this or some former lifetime. Plus, she really knows her way around a paragraph. In these stories, child support never gets paid and guns go off too often and deciding to love something almost guarantees its immediate departure or death. These are hard, wonderful, compassion-inducing stories, laced with surprising and surprisingly powerful grace notes, flashes of heat lightning in the dark."
-- Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted
“Jodi Angel’s tough and elegant stories remind me of the work of Ray Carver, Melanie Rae Thon, and Richard Ford. These are big-hearted renderings of folks struggling to find beauty in a harsh world, the pain of Angel’s characters driven into their potent desire to escape, to find mercy, to be healed. The eleven stories in You Only Get Letters from Jail are radiant with wise and powerful drama, serious, earnest, and true.”
-- Alan Heathcock, author of Volt
“In these charged stories, the young narrators do not understand that they cannot afford their innocence, their tenderness, in these worlds. I was captured by the power of Jodi Angel's fresh, uninsulated prose and I read toward the secret harm in each story like a man who has heard a noise in the other room. You Only Get Letters from Jail is a gripping collection.”
-- Ron Carlson, author of The Signal
Because a memoir should be written as a travel blog over the course of one summer.