I Brake for Moose
Place Published: Braddock, PA
Publisher: Alleyway Books
Date Published: February 2017
In story after story of this highly anticipated collection, Geeta Kothari lays bare an America deeply uneasy about its heterogeneity. In “Small Bang Only,” a man from the former Yugoslavia struggles to come to terms with his wife’s successful career in America only to find the resolution to his grief in violence. In “Missing Men,” a woman from an unnamed African country wrestles with her sense of self when she is forced to hide her identity after her boss, the editor of a community newspaper, is arrested in a post 9/11-related investigation. And in “Her Mother’s Ashes,” a young Indian woman taking her dead mother’s cremated remains “home” to spread in the Ganges comes to realize that the very idea of home may have vanished forever. In stories bristling with the tensions of an increasing globalized world, Kothari’s luminous prose pulls back the curtain on one of the most pressing problems of contemporary life: how can we understand ourselves in an ever-shifting world.
Praise for I Brake for Moose
These unusually varied stories are informed by Geeta Kothari’s brilliant, and far-ranging imagination, so you never know what you’re getting into. Every story is a new occasion, a new land, a new investigation into the identity of characters from all over the world, and a reminder that this formal and thematic dexterity is part of what informs, and makes necessary, the short story. Few collections take advantage of the form the way Kothari does here. The stories are imbued with her distinctly trenchant humor and wisdom, along with a quiet compassion for the grieving, the bewildered, and the misfit. Let’s all hope this is the first of many collections from Geeta Kothari.
—Jane McCafferty, author of First You Try Everything
Long familiar with her stories, essays, and nonfiction, the legion of Geeta's fans have been anxiously awaiting this book that announces her incredible gifts to the world. The stories showcase a diversity that refuses to be pigeonholed, a political edginess always contained in its vulnerable human form, and an empathy too wired for a single current. A beautiful collection.
—Nancy Zafris, author of The Home Jar
Geeta Kothari’s debut collection, I Brake for Moose and Other Stories, is a splendidly satisfying example of the possibilities peculiar to the liar’s art, for hers are worlds—eleven of them between these covers—at once achingly real and deeply imagined, where we find only and always ourselves in masquerade: divided by impossible dreams, deracinated by war and want, and, in the end, made desperate by all the promises others have failed to keep. Ms. Kothari is that writer, out of so many deserving your attention, that again and again you will return to, keen to learn anew what magic, both dark and light, the willed word can make.
—Lee K. Abbott, All Things, All at Once: New and Selected Stories
There are many ways to leave home... Geeta Kothari is here to tell us, and the tricky road back is always charged and uncertain. These stories chart that journey with aching accuracy.
—Ron Carlson, author of Return to Oakpine and A Kind of Flying: Selected Stories
Stories can sometimes feel small, artificially sealed off from the tangled world we live in. Not these. These characters struggle movingly, often humorously, with difference: difference from the people around them, or from who their families once assumed they’d become, or from the futures and selves they once envisioned. Geeta Kothari is unafraid to explore both the complexities of identity, and the fears and frustrations of individual human hearts.
—Caitlin Horrocks, author of This is Not Your City
Geeta Kothari is the nonfiction editor of the Kenyon Review. She is a co-founder of the www.novelworkshop.org. Her writing has appeared in various anthologies and journals, including New England Review, Massachusetts Review, and others. Her essay "If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?" is widely taught in universities and has been reprinted in several anthologies, including in Best American Essays. She is the editor of "‘Did My Mama Like to Dance?’ and Other Stories about Mothers and Daughters.