ISBN: 978-1-62557-011-6

I Am Faithful

Publication Date: December 2019


I am so in love with, so in awe of, so grateful for I Am Faithful. Jenny Irish writes girlhood like none other, splaying its great intensity, its loneliness, sufferings, longings, imaginings, and let-downs all. Cruelty and love coalesce into stories that feel so deeply lived in and inhabited that they keep living in one’s blood like fairy tales. These essayistic, poetic stories are dreamy and gritty in their utter and heartbreaking realism. Finally, here they are: stories for girls like me who grew up between nothing and a heartbeat. I followed each and every dark tendril in this collection to its alluring and enchanting entanglement.

-Jenny Boully, author of Betwixt and Between

I Am Faithful is often beautiful, occasionally ugly, and true on every page. Jenny Irish is a writer of great skill and intelligence and most of all heart.

-Kyle Minor, author of Praying Drunk

In this collection of stories, Jenny Irish’s sparse, raw prose gathers briny New England interiors, the eyes of old dogs, absent mothers and cold lovers. Each character is filled with the ache of absence, each story a Russian doll packed with glass. You’ll want to cradle them to your chest, even knowing that, as you open them, the shards will cut you. A quiet, confident, and unassuming work.

-Jen Michalski, author of The Summer She Was Under Water

What is it to be poor? Discovering an ATM’s smallest withdrawal is more than the little left in your account? Counting out food stamps or working phone scams? Living in a bleak rental or a house made of ‘shiplap and tarpaper and corrugated tin’? Or is it something far more subterranean and corrosive, like the backwards kindness of a grandfather who guns down stray dogs? Or is it women who, with their bodies as their only asset, believe it ‘better to have a husband who beat you bloody than to be single’? And what of their daughters, of their perceived competition, such as a little girl shining ‘like a scrubbed apple’ before her body is found locked in ice? The question of privilege-of what it can buy, really-demands uncomfortable, often violent answers, and Jenny Irish’s unflinching collection, I Am Faithful, holds steady aim, writing the truth, bitter as it may be, that few understand but everyone needs to hear. Reader, witness: here, in burnished, exquisite prose, is a precise telling of class in America, a portrait of those who must compromise to survive, who scrape and save, and though acting out of the grim fury misery provides, they never, under whatever circumstance, deserve to be called ‘trash.

-Nickole Brown, author of Sister and Fanny Says

Often slyly funny and always devastatingly observant, Jenny Irish writes about the precarities of our moment with gorgeous prose and heartbreaking acuity.

-Laura Kipnis, author of Unwanted Advances

Lovely, brutal, and absolutely mesmerizing. Jenny Irish is a genius, and I Am Faithful is a revelation.

-Jennifer duBois, author of The Spectators

Jenny Irish’s stories are unflinching glimpses into messy human lives. Finely crafted, the beautiful sentences build. There is ache, there is longing, and then, inevitably, the story bares its teeth.

-Callan Wink author of Dog Run Moon

About the Author

Jenny Irish

Jenny Irish is the author of the hybrid poetry collections Common Ancestor (Black Lawrence, 2017) and Tooth Box (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021),  the short story collection I Am Faithful  (Black Lawrence, 2019), the chapbook Lupine (Black Lawrence, 2023) and most recently Hatch (Northwestern University Press, 2024). She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University and facilitates free community workshops every summer.

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