Sally Shivnan ~ ~ fiction ~ essays ~ travel


Praise for Piranhas & Quicksand & Love

"Sally Shivnan's prose is so clear, and governed by a hand so precisely attuned to the demands of the story, that the words seem to disappear, and you look through them without quite having the sense that anything is between you and the people she's created.  These stories will take hold of you from the first line.  Each one provides what Peter Taylor once said all good stories provide: superior entertainment."

—Richard Bausch, recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, author of Before, During, After

"An outstanding collection of tales about the pitfalls and rewards of human connection . . . .  Read this book to savor its beautiful language, to drink in its gentle defiance.  Piranhas & Quicksand & Love calls readers to ride the waves of a sea besieged by predatory behavior and natural disaster.  To sail on, nevertheless, toward love."

The Washington Independent Review of Books

(read the full review here)

"In this collection of stories Sally Shivnan gives life to the dreams of the most unexpected of characters.  Written with a rationed lyricism, the writing is clean and unpretentious but hits the mark every time.  Endearing, poignant, tender and true, these are stories to surprise and delight . . . and occasionally pierce your heart."

—Jill Dawson, author of The Tell-Tale Heart


"Sally Shivnan's characters are at once ordinary and extraordinarily self-aware.  Their thoughts, lives, loves, and mistakes shoot like flares through the collective subconscious of the early 21st century, casting momentary, brilliant light on our messy adventure of living.  Shivnan’s skill, humor, and empathy convert everyday situations into exquisitely strange and moving riddles that will cling to readers’ memories."

Pamela Petro, author of Sitting up with the Dead: A Storied Journey through the American South

"Sally Shivnan writes with grace and understanding about people who often lack both.  Her stories pull us in with a quiet, observant, knowing voice that occasionally soars into the lyrical."

Thomas Swick, author of The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them

"A moving and lyrical meditation on nostalgia, love, and mortality."

The Short Story Project, commenting on the story "What Do You Remember?"

"[N]ice to know I have a niece who is the next J K Rowling."

—my uncle Jim Diffley