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“It’s not going to kill you,” a mother tells her protesting child. And maybe it won’t, but that doesn’t mean anyone is getting off scot-free. A no-man's-land between exoneration and repercussion, this is the place where the people in Erin Flanagan’s stories live: in events as big as 9/11 and as small as an infatuation with a dog groomer, as meaningful as the birth of a baby and as senseless as a car crash, as unique as a 1980s air band living out dreams for a city in decline and as common as an afterschool job that sucks. These stories accept that we all make mistakes, but it’s what we do in the aftermath that defines us.
Sharp-witted and tenderhearted, these are stories in which readers will find people they recognize but never really knew until now.
“Smart, lively, and full of skillful turns, It’s Not Going to Kill You, and Other Stories offers a poignant and unforgettable look at who we are when we have to face the complicated and necessary ways in which we all matter to one another.”—Lee Martin, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Bright Forever
“Erin Flanagan’s haunting stories sneak up on you with their sensory, sometimes startling images that ground you in the lives of her flawed but striving characters. . . . Flanagan also pulls off beautifully what I’d begun to suspect perhaps couldn’t be done—‘Feather the Nest’ is the first 9/11 story that makes sense to me.”—Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals