TARA ISON is the author of the novels The List, A Child Out of Alcatraz (a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), and Rockaway, selected as a “2013 Best Books of Summer” by O, the Oprah Magazine. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Kenyon Review, Nerve.com, Publishers Weekly, and numerous anthologies. She is the co-author of the cult film Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.
“Each tale in Ison’s story collection, seemingly innocuous, delves into a dark examination of inappropriate behavior: affairs, self-mutilation, shocking deaths; no faux pas stone is left unturned. But with her expert writing and willingness to push boundaries the grotesqueness and horrors are bearable, even beautiful.” —Marie Claire
“Ison delves into the minds of these characters and others in this captivating and disturbing collection of stories: think Mary Gaitskill or Miranda July, but more demented… Ison’s straightforward style belies a deeper, parallel truth hidden in each story. These stories find a strange sweet spot between the mundane and the horrific. They may shock but they also provoke, with many leading to an unexpected, and not always happy, ending.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Elegant, creepy short stories with a horror-film sensibility… That classic horror-movie elision, from friendly normalcy to nauseating terror, is made by most of these beautifully written, often first-person narratives… Freaky, nasty, highly original, and unforgettable, whether you like it or not.” —Kirkus
“Tara Ison’s stories locate the pleasure in pain, the victory in betrayal, the beauty in depravity — they walk the line between love and debasement. In the end, Ison’s characters are knots of selfish interest and desire, clinging to any warm body as death grows near, achingly human in her portrayal.” —Sarah Gerard, author of Binary Star
“Tara Ison is the mistress of bad behavior. She divines the beauty in darkness. She twists the familiar — a friendship, an apology — till something fantastic cracks. And she will have you in thrall to her gorgeous language. The stories in Ball are exquisite and harrowing. Must read straight through. Must remember to breathe.” —Dylan Landis, author of Rainey Royal
“The stories in Ball take place at the far limits of obsession and desire and lust, exploring the dangers of turning toward the kinds of love we have tried always to refuse. Tara Ison is a fearless writer, and her bravery before the dark urges of the heart thrills on every page.” —Matt Bell, author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods