Whirlpool Painting

Winner of the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Award

~ “Comical and strange, yet heartbreakingly familiar” ~ A surrealistic collage of linked tales by Jackie Craven ~

Eleven narrative strands fragment and re-form to weave a story of other-worldly ailments and compulsions. As the befuddled narrators cross paths, their lives grow increasingly unmanageable. Told with wit and pathos, the  linked tales are comical and strange, yet heartbreakingly familiar. Written in the tradition of magical realism, these are the confessions you might hear at a 12-step meeting in a universe of fairy tales and dreams.

“In Our Lives Became Unmanageable, the reader inhabits a reliable world where voices are pink, dads float on ceilings, and defective mirrors hold bodies and souls. The world is this world. The world is a sad world. The world deserves kindness. The world will take us to difficult places. From department stores to apartments to beaches, the narrator takes us down the path of her problems, putting first always her care with the problems of others. Craven is a wonderful storyteller, and I really can’t wait to read more of her fiction.”  ~ Kate Bernheimer, judge of the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Contest

  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1632430274
  • 56 Pages | 5.5×7 inches
  • October 2016


A note from Jackie…

Our Lives Became Unmanageable began as a series of short stories. Traditional narrative structures did not work for these surreal tales, however.  I wanted to create unexpected juxtapositions and an eerie sense of disorientation. So, I attacked the stories with scissors, reducing them to thematic nodes. Spreading the fragments on the floor, I shuffled and reshuffled, seeking connections. You might say that Unmanageable is hypertextual…”  Read more on Trish Hopkinson’s poetry blog:  Hypertext Taught Me a New Way to Write

Book cover showing woman swept into a whirlpool
Cover Art by Louise Craven Hourrigan



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