Curing Season: Artifacts
West Virginia University Press, October 1 2022

Order your copy through WVU Press, The Bookworm, Dundee Book Company, Bookshop, or request it at your local bookstore/library! Yes it’s available through “other sources” as well. You know them; I don’t need to name them.

-a Rumpus “What to Read When” selection-
-a North Carolina Writers’ Network “Fall Recommended Reading List” selection-
-a Southern Review of Books “Best Southern Books of October 2022” selection-

“Kristine Langley Mahler’s Curing Season is a lovely and rapturous excavation and examination of the past, a lesson in writing oneself into history when it doesn’t offer you a space. Displaced, coming-of-age, estranged from tradition, feeling out-of-place, this is a voice that teaches us how to live in the aftermath: you may not recognize life as you are living it, mementos may not reveal themselves until after the fact, what we miss and mourn may be what harmed us in the past. In imaginative forms and gripping prose, Mahler leads us to the entombed interiors of loss and how to rewrite our stories so that we truly fit in.”
–Jenny Boully, author of Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life

An exquisite excavation of childhood and adolescenceCuring Season recounts Kristine Langley Mahler’s long-ago attempts at fitting in after moving to her new town: from wanting to carry the right shopping bag in the mall to forming an alliance with one girl against others to mailing “histrionic letters of homesickness” to friends at her old school. In wise, lyrical, and formally inventive essays, Mahler vividly illustrates the heartaches of trying to belong in a place—even after leaving it.
–Jeannie Vanasco, author of Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl

“An exceptional example of both place-based and experimental writing. My own adolescence and all the times I felt like an outsider sprang to life reading these pages.”
–Erica Trabold, author of Five Plots

These experimental essays about place, home and the failed effort to belong are closely tied to
Eastern North Carolina, but will resonate everywhere.”
Shelf Awareness, review by Julia Kastner

“Mahler manages to create a time machine harking back to the simplicity and complexity of adolescence.”
Booklist, review by BoDean Warnock

“Memory, imagination, and reflection round out the interrogation of place and [Mahler’s] place in it, making that house where she spent four years a destination both geographical and psychic.”
Ploughshares, review by Holly M. Wendt

“It is mesmerizing to watch Mahler collect the fragments of information she uncovers, how she pieces it together, and the revelations that occur.”
Hippocampus Magazine, review by Emily Webber

“Mahler reminds us of the benefits of obsession, of studying a time from all angles. We can better understand our mistakes. We can find our way in and stay.”
Southern Review of Books, review by Amber Ruth Paulen

“An exquisite, aching memoir of adolescent girlhood…Curing Season offers a way of writing memoir that feels closer to the truth of a life.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, review by Lorraine Berry

“Mahler maps a thoroughly inventive, engrossing, and heart-driven exploration of an unwitting adolescent peripatetic….[her] serious play with/on form and language allow for an elasticity of fact, and a greater, if in articulatable—incalculable—truth.”
DIAGRAM, review by Irene Cooper

“Mahler holds a mirror to memory, that inconstant force, that unsteady driver of everyday. The book is long on impeccable writing and devoid of easy answers.”
Full Stop , review by Brian O’Neill

“A fun, strange play on nostalgia and belonging that embodies something so middle school that it aches…a lovely and clever book of essays.
The Rumpus, review by Melinda Copp

“Her book itself becomes its own artifact, one we can keep in our own cabinet, one we can give to others and say, ‘Here. Here is what it’s like to be young and lonely in the South.'”
The Millions, review by Maddie Norris

“A thought-provoking, emotionally charged experiment in (re)constructing a place and a past, a story and a self

MER Journal, review by Laura Dennis

“The triumph of Mahler’s interrogation is her willingness to acknowledge herself as a suspect and to accept that the ambiguities of the past are ultimately unsolvable.”

Colorado Review, review by Kim Kankiewicz

Curing Season pushes boundaries on what a memoir and an essay collection can look like…Langley Mahler lets her exploration of form provide a new way to explore the self.”

The Good Life Review, review by Ashley Espinoza 

After spending four years of adolescence in suburban North Carolina, Kristine Langley Mahler, even as an adult, is still buffeted by the cultural differences between her pioneer-like upbringing in Oregon and the settled southern traditions into which she could never assimilate. Collecting evidence of displacement—a graveyard in a mall parking lot, a suburban neighborhood of white kids bused to desegregate public schools in the 1990s, and the death of her best friend—Curing Season is an attempt to understand her failed grasp at belonging.

Mahler’s yearning for acceptance remains buried like a splinter, which she carefully tweezes out in the form of artifacts from her youth. But it isn’t until she encounters a book of local family histories that she takes inhabitation and truth apart, grafting and twisting and imprinting her history on theirs, until even she can no longer tell the difference between their truth and her own. Using inventive essay forms, Mahler pries apart the cracks of exclusion and experiments with the nature of belonging, memory, and place. Curing Season is a coming-of-age memoir for everyone who grew up anywhere but home.

Articles/Interviews re: Curing Season

for publicity queries, please contact Cassie Mannes Murray at Pine State Publicity

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