A novel by Selah Saterstrom
August 11, 2015 • 5 x 7.5 • 186 Pages • 978-1-56689-395-4
Tiger—stripper, felon, bestselling author—on dancing as Helen Keller, her grandfather’s suicide, 18th century killers, and the best red velvet cake.
On a slab that’s all Katrina left of her Mississippi home, Tiger—stripper, felon, best-selling author—tells us of her days dancing as Helen Keller, her grandfather’s suicide, a serial killer duo from the 18th century, and the best recipe for red velvet cake. And out of these floating anecdotes comes a portrait of a fallen biblical landscape of struggle and sin.
About the Author
Selah Saterstrom is the author of the novels Slab, The Meat and Spirit Plan, and The Pink Institution, all published by Coffee House Press. Widely published and anthologized, she also curates Madame Harriette Presents, an occasional series. She teaches and lectures across the United States and is the director of Creative Writing at the University of Denver.
Born in 1974, Saterstrom grew up in Natchez, Jackson, and Pass Christian, Mississippi. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, her Masters in Theology and Literature from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and her MFA from Goddard College in Vermont. She is the editor of Soul Collections, an anthology of prose and poetry written by at-risk teenagers in North Carolina and her work has recently appeared in Big Bridge, the Café Review, Fourteen Hills, Tarpaulin Sky, the American Book Review, Ellipsis, Cranbrook Magazine, and elsewhere. The Meat and Spirit Plan is her second novel and a portion of the author’s proceeds will be donated to Our Voice, a nonprofit crisis intervention agency serving Western North Carolina and to the Kim Duckett Fund for Women.
A former instructor at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, Saterstrom currently lives in Colorado and is on the faculty of the University of Denver’s Creative Writing Program.
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“Brutal but also deeply lyrical, Saterstrom’s beautiful novel paints a portrait of a family wracked by its own dysfunction and held fast by a place that has never fully recovered since the day the Civil War began—the day known, as the book tellingly reminds us, as ‘Ruination Day.’” —Publishers Weekly
“In her latest novel Selah Saterstrom confirms her status as one of America’s premier narrative archaeologists.” —Los Angeles Review
“The writing constantly swerves from the sensational to the sincere, which gives it resonance and, ultimately, makes the book so darn likeable. . . . Slab is a definite must-read.” —NewPages
“[Slab is] absorbingly, concisely written . . . weirdly wonderful.” —Library Journal
“[Saterstrom has] a poet’s ear for language and a comic’s feel for timing. . . . Complicated, beautiful, whimsical, troubling, and heart-breaking.” —Full-Stop
“Bawdy, funny, and thought-provoking. . . . Deeply southern, very American, decadent and devastating.” —BookRiot
“Saterstrom has created a novel told in several genres. . . . If you like something a bit unusual, and you appreciate new approaches to storytelling, this may be the tale for you.” —Georgia Review
“Saterstrom’s narrators charm the reader with their mix of naivete, natural curiosity, and keen, intelligent observation. . . . The novel’s stark and varied form also mimics a careful sleight of hand.” —Atticus Review
“[Tiger] navigates the world around her with guile and intelligence, and each act or chapter adds facet-like depth and meaning . . . As Slab makes clear: in this world which daily hoists abuse and crisis and deprivation on our souls, there’s still room for saving grace and experimental books that are a pleasure to read.” —Southern Literary Review
“Slab is one of those novels that hits you fast and hard, that you finish in one sitting, gulping down like an ice-cold glass of water.” —Weird Sister
“Saterstrom’s strength as an author is her ability to straddle this line between the colloquial and the academic while offering us a deeply flawed protagonist who is both compelling and tragic.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“From page one, the story takes off at a breakneck pace and proceeds with all the force of a hurricane.” —NewPages
“Its subject matter will be familiar: Southern poverty, institutional misogyny, gun violence, Hurricane Katrina, the Confederate Flag, and most painfully, their amalgam wound. Its perspective, though, promises to be wholly new: Tiger is a ferocious protagonist whose spirit outgrows her circumstance so long as it’s not stultified by weary traditions.” —Brazos Bookstore
“Offbeat. Comic. Bawdy. Savage. Moving.” —Lively Arts
“[Slab] brings up questions that are deeper than the comical nature of some of the tales, such as, ‘Do you believe in life after death?’ . . . There is meaning to be taken from Slab. You simply have to find it in your own way, just as Tiger does.” —Memphis Flyer
“Saterstrom writes with a poet’s economy and eye for visceral detail, collapsing into a mere 140 pages a four-generation history of a Southern family bedeviled by alcoholism, poverty, racism, violence, and mental illness. Her spareness is a mercy. The story she tells is brutal, almost impossible to take; at the same time, her exquisite, cut-to-the-quick language makes this book impossible to put down.” —HuffPost
“Despite her kinetic prose and the variousness of her forms, Saterstrom’s oeuvre is intelligent in its cohesion and destination.” —Brazos Bookstore
“Stories that are good must be told and this one tells its way right into your subconscious and stays there until you fall asleep, haunting you with words and images.” —Bookslut