Seamlessly shifting between the speculative and the blindingly real, balancing the bizarre with the subtle brutality of the mundane, A Manual for How to Love Us is a tender portrait of women trying their best to survive, love, and find genuine meaning in the aftermath of loss.
In these unconventional and unpredictably connected stories, Erin Slaughter shatters the stereotype of the soft-spoken, sorrowful woman in distress, queering the domestic and honoring the feral in all of us. In each story, grieving women embrace their wildest impulses as they attempt to master their lives: one woman becomes a “gazer” at a fraternity house, another slowly moves into her otherworldly stained-glass art, a couple speaks only their basement’s black box, and a thruple must decide what to do when one partner disappears.
The women in Erin Slaughter’s stories suffer messy breaks, whisper secrets to the ghosts tangled in the knots of their hair, eat raw meat to commune with their inner wolves, and build deadly MLM schemes along the Gulf Coast.
Set across oft-overlooked towns in the American South, A Manual for How to Love Us spotlights women who are living on the brink and clinging to its precipitous edge. Lyrical and surprisingly humorous, A Manual for How to Love Us is an exciting debut that reveals the sticky complications of living in a body, in all its grotesquerie and glory.