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Katherine Heiny Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Single, Carefree, Mellow (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Standard Deviation (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Early Morning Riser (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

561 (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
How to Give the Wrong Impression: from Single, Carefree, Mellow (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Games and Rituals: Stories (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Katherine Heiny
Katherine Heiny’s fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The New Yorker, and Narrative, as well as many other places.

The germ of an idea typically begins with something from her own life. Like “Damascus”, from “Games and Rituals”, where a mom believes that her son is high on life, before she realizes that he is probably just high.

Her son came home from working at the supermarket, looking incredibly happy. It made her think that he loved his job and he’s high on life. Then she was shocked she even thought such a thing.

Katherine is the youngest of three, and grew up in Midland, Michigan, which is the headquarters of the Dow Chemical Company. She says that basically everybody there was a scientist. Her mom was a chemist and her dad was a chemical engineer. It was almost as though her parents had brought the wrong baby home from the hospital. Everybody kept asking why she couldn’t do math. Even her brothers became a chemical engineer and a software engineer. Instead, she went to Columbia in order to take an MFA in poetry, which was followed by another in creative writing.

Katherine moved to New York in order to temp and do some bar work until her writing career took off. Her story “How to Give the Wrong Impression” got rejected around thirty times before a friend told her that you’re supposed to try the New Yorker first. So she shipped it to the New Yorker and within just a couple of days she got a call from their fiction editor.

Even though it was wonderful to get a story accepted at such a young age, it didn’t change her life. Although it did land her an agent, however the prevailing wisdom was that short stories do not sell and she had to write a novel. She wound up stalling out of fear, and just waiting for this novel idea to come.

She took up writing YA novels under a pseudonym in order to keep soul and body together, churning a new book out every two months.

“Standard Deviation” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2017. A funny and rueful examination of marriage, origami, love, and infidelity. Simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious, this is a sensational debut novel.

Audra (Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife) is everything that his first wife was not. She considers herself to be privileged to live during the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop during her epidural, labor, and delivery, and she invites the doorman to move, and even invites the eccentric members of their son’s Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is fun, spontaneous, and charming, however life with her can get exhausting.

In the midst of the day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a kid with Asperger’s, Elspeth (Graham’s first wife) reenters his life. Former spouses are tough to categorize; are they old flames, friends, enemies, or merely people that know you very well? Graham begins wondering: how can anybody love two such different women? Did he make the right decision? Is there even a right choice to make?

“561” is the first novella and was released in 2018. A wryly tender tale about cardboard boxes and crises; of moving on and marriage.

Barbara (Forest’s ex-wife) calls on him to help her move out of the home that they once shared, Charlie (his second wife) finds she is carrying not just dozens of boxes, however also the weight of their shared past.

The first time Charlie and Barbara met was twenty years prior when they volunteered at this suicide crisis hotline, and one night was especially burned into Charlie’s memory.

“Early Morning Riser” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2021. A bighearted, boundlessly joyful, and wise book about disaster, love, and unconventional family.

Jane falls in love with Duncan rather easily. He’s good natured, charming, and handsome yet unfortunately, he has also slept with almost every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees his old girlfriends everywhere: at the grocery store, at restaurants, and even three towns away.

Jane might be able to come to terms with dating the world’s most prolific seducer of women, she wishes that she did not have to share him quite so widely. Aggie (his ex-wife) a woman with pale milkmaid skin and shiny hair, still has Duncan mow her lawn. Jimmy (his co-worker) comes and goes from Duncan’s apartment from the most inopportune times. Jane sometimes wonders if a relationship can even work with three people in it, never mind four. Five if you add in Gary, Aggie’s eccentric husband. Not to mention all of the other residents of Boyne City, who freely share with Jane their opinions of her decisions.

However any notion that Jane had about marriage and love changes with a horrible car crash. Jane soon finds her life is permanently intertwined with Duncan’s, Jimmy’s, and Aggie’s, and Jane also knows that she will never have Duncan all to herself. However could it be possible that a deeper sort of happiness is just in front of Jane’s eyes?

A novel that is alternately laugh out loud funny and bittersweet, this Katherine’s most astonishingly wonderful work to date.

“Games and Rituals” is a short story collection and was released in 2023. Glittering stories of love: ex-husbands with benefits, mom of suspiciously sweet teens, friendships formed at the airport bar, and ill-advised trysts. In all forms of love, both sublime and ridiculous.

The rituals and games being performed by Katherine’s characters range from tender to mischievous. In “Twist and Shout”, Erica’s elderly dad mistakes his $4,000 hearing aid as a cashew that he eats. In “Bridesmaid, Revisited”, Marlee, who suffers from a life and laundry crisis, wears this massive bridesmaid’s dress to work. In “Turn Back, Turn Back”, a bedtime tale that is coupled with a receipt for a Starbucks babycino reveal this one struggling actor’s deception.

And in “561”, Charlene pays the real price of infidelity and is stuck helping her husband’s former wife move out of the family home.

Katherine Heiny, our bard of wearing the wrong shoes, waking up in the wrong bed, running late for the wrong job, however loved by all the right people, has delivered a collection of immense kindness and glorious humor.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Katherine Heiny

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