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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Dead Girls by Emily Geminder

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Dead Girls by Emily Geminder

Dead Girls-Cover Final copy.jpg
Dead Girls-Cover Final copy.jpg

Dead Girls by Emily Geminder


Publication Date: October 17 2017
Paperback: 192 pages
ISBN: 978-1-945814-33-4

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With lyric artistry and emotional force, Emily Geminder’s debut collection charts a vivid constellation of characters fleeing their own stories. A teenage runaway and her mute brother seek salvation in houses, buses, the backseats of cars. Preteen girls dial up the ghosts of fat girls. A crew of bomber pilots addresses the sparks of villagers below. In Cambodia, four young women confuse themselves with the ghost of a dead reporter. And from India to New York to Phnom Penh, dead girls both real and fantastic appear again and again: as obsession, as threat, as national myth and collective nightmare.


“[Geminder's] debut collection brims with life....A breathlessly fast-moving collection that leaves a reader enchanted, provoked, and curious about the little-noticed corners of the darkening world.”
The New York Times Book Review

“An eerie convergence of female identities and experiences across time and space... Startling, far-reaching tales of women who haunt and are haunted.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In her debut collection, Geminder covers a range of subjects and injects them with her own brand of liveliness and creativity...Geminder’s stories are refreshing, surprising, and evocative.”
Publishers Weekly

“Each story of this collection will startle you in its own unique way, but this is a collection that works as one, with the stories building on each other to create an unforgettable piece of art.”

Geminder offers a distinctly female perspective, often through a collective, yet sharply personal narrator. History pulls along the underside of these stories, both individual and global, deepening her world and connecting her themes across time and circumstance.” 
Arkansas International

 “This is not a collection of stories overly dependent on plot; these are stories that attain their power through description, through syntax. … Death is the ultimate struggle, and it hangs over every word of this collection.” 

“Geminder’s book showcases an acute sensitivity to worlds both inside and out. There’s real delicacy to the craft but underneath all the skill is a shaking sense of purpose, and a great love of the brokenness and beauty of humanity. This is a substantive, memorable debut.”
Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

“The stories in Geminder's mesmerizing Dead Girls seamlessly weave gender and geopolitics and the dreamlike worlds of characters struggling to find hope and reason within their near apocalypses. The thread of unease that runs through the collection is insightful, rebellious, and righteous.”
Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil's Rock

“An electrifying read. Written in dreamy prose, these stories take the world we know and turn it inside out, making us question everything we think we know about our places in it. But don’t let the dream-like quality fool you: These stories have teeth. Seductive but fierce, full of keen insights and tenacious questions, Geminder’s fearless and utterly original debut collection will haunt you and nourish you at the same time.”
—Dana Johnson, author of In the Not Quite Dark and Elsewhere, California

“Geminder’s stirring collection explores death-haunted scenarios from unexpected angles. Whether the characters are caught in the currents of Cambodian history or the private mythologies of an American summer, they’re often plunged into moments that dissolve all certainties about identity, consciousness, and the body. Etched with a matter-of-fact lyricism, Dead Girls will haunt you, sure, but that’s barely half the story.”
—Jeff Jackson, author of Mira Corpora


Emily Geminder’s short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in AGNI, American Short Fiction, Mississippi Review, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, Tin House Open Bar, Witness, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award and a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, and her work was noted in Best American Essays 2016. She has worked as a journalist in New York and Cambodia, and is a Provost’s Fellow in creative writing and literature at the University of Southern California.