Praise for All That Work and Still No Boys by Kathryn Ma
"Kathryn Ma's emotional precision sheds new light on the interworkings of families... and her powers are on marvelous display in this fine debut collection of stories....
All That Work and Still No Boys marks the arrival of a deeply compassionate and subtle writer in possession of a keen sense of character and an impressive dexterity
--Laura van den Berg, Ploughshares
"Ma collects 10 stories full of quiet astonishments....stunning...."
These 10 stories offer an intimate look at Chinese-American life; the careful distances, the family obligations, the wounded pride and myriad slights that fester
over generations. Ma's stories are layered....there are no good guys, no bad guys, just the deep suffering that ripples through families -- the things that everyone knows and no one talks about."
– Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
"Throughout the book--the winner of the illustrious 2009 Iowa Short Fiction Prize--Ma's mostly Chinese American characters confront the long arm of cultural traditions and the pain of immigration and assimilation with a pitch-perfect subtlety that many Asian American writers miss. Her detailed and intimate understandings of relationships remind me of Jhumpa Lahiri's work, but Ma brings a humor and messiness....Ma's extremely readable prose carried me through this slim collection almost too fast, leaving me wanting more. This book is one of the most promising fiction debuts I've read in a long time."
– Neelanjana Banerjee, Hyphen Magazine
“With subtle intelligence and wry humor, Kathryn Ma brings us characters whose
lives are complicated—in all the best ways—by family, race, immigration, and quirks
of personality. These wonderful stories have the resonance of truth even as they
make you see the world in new ways.”
– Curtis Sittenfeld, author, American Wife
“Kathryn Ma's All That Work and Still No Boys negotiates with a brisk and wry
dispatch the minor and major agonies of family crises, and renders with admirable
efficiency and power the subterranean stresses in any intimate history. Her
characters and relationships are rendered with an enviable grace and a clarity and
a compassionate insight that honors both their pain and their ongoing attempts, however imperfect, to pitch in on one another's behalf.”
—James Shepard, author, Like You’d Understand, Anyway: Stories
"Kathryn Ma is a wonderful writer. Subtle, complex, funny, touching, these stories
deliver a world of characters I shall not forget.”
—Lynn Freed, author, The Servants' Quarters
“Kathryn Ma writes with wit and an incisive light touch about a range of characters,
nationalities, ages, and temperaments. Particularly skillful at revealing the nuances,
contradictions, and stresses inner and outer that make us alike in need, she had me
leaning into these stories page after page. A wonderful debut from a talented
—Ehud Havazelet, author, Bearing the Body