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Grief and Sacrifice

Caitlyn Horrocks

— Profile by Valerie Busto, Fiction Editor for Elan Literary Magazine

“The lift of her legs over the gate reminded Rose of dockyards, cranes, and I-beams, vast weight swinging dangerously free. If the house weren’t a concrete box laid flat on the dirt, the floors would shake. Rose, solid herself, envied this size; Bev looked armored, untouchable, as if nothing could come at her that wouldn’t bounce straight off.” From Caitlyn Horrocks’s story Sun City.

Not only has Horrocks been published in multiple literary magazines, including The New Yorker, she’s published one book. “This is Not Your City” is her fiction book and her collection of prose are posted in several magazines. Over and over again Horrocks has proven to be a dedicated fiction writer who incorporates long, poetic sentences. Her stories involve meaningful characters that she says she lets flush out within her drafts. It’s beyond worth noting that her stories create a realistic world with characters that connect to the readers.

Editor of The Kenyon Review, she’s been surrounded by great literary works since she received her MFA from Arizona State University. “Her stories and essays appear in anthologies such as The Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize StoriesThe Pushcart Prize, Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers, True Stories, Well Told: From the First 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine, and in journals such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Tin HouseOne Story, Salon, and elsewhere.” Grand Valley State University quotes, the school where she currently resides.

Her story “Sun City,” published in The New Yorker in 2011 continues to be one of her most popular works. In this piece, Horrocks explores grief and sacrifice. In an interview she explains how the characters in the story, Rose, Vera, and Bev, really developed as she moved forward. Rose interpreters Vera and Bev’s relationship as sexual instead of a normal friendship. Rose is a bartender, a characteristic that she can share with her grandmother who drinks more than enough. This piece in particular strikes me because it begins right in the action, and it submerges the reader into the world of Rose.

At the end of the story, Rose mixes drinks for her and Bev and together they drink together. The language in this part made me feel like I was in the moment and that I was experiencing this special moment between them. The range of her stories, subject and style, is what creates a clear distinction between all of her works. “Part of what I love about the short story form is the opportunity it offers for play: each one is a chance to try a new place, new voice, new character, new conundrum,” Horrocks expands on her stories and processes in an interview with Indiana Review.

Funny enough, Horrocks says she likes to get her work down at coffee shops. Cliché or not, amazing works come from habits and staying focused on the work, something Horrocks has inspired to do each time she goes to work.