Reviews and Comments
Demigods on Speedway
"Sheehan writes humorous and poetic prose--tales of everyday valor and agony set in the vast apartment complexes, spas, and car washes of 21st century America."
“Aurelie Sheehan’s demigods, like their ancient counterparts, are tragic and comic and utterly, movingly human. And Tucson, her 21st century Olympus, in all its sizzle and steaminess, comes gorgeously to life. I couldn’t put this book down and I didn’t want it to end. So I read it again and loved it even more.”
“In Demigods on Speedway, Aurelie Sheehan brings the Greek gods back to Earth and to the City of Tucson. Her large and attractive cast of characters fill the long shifts of light and stars with longing, hope, self-regard and the desire for beauty. This is a Tucson lit by the divine's fatal, exhilarating glamour.”
“Aurelie Sheehan is a master of illusion, but she's not dealing in magic - she's describing and defining the illusions of identity we conjure up daily in the 21st century. She's a great portraitist, with a sharp eye for the absurdities of modern day habits. In the seedy, sordid dustiness of a desert town, these characters wrangle with their tender ambitions, lining up their ideals with their realities. For all their bad habits and dead ends, these characters are endearing - they're open to love, to surprise, to stark realizations. And all along, Sheehan's writing is sensuous, sensory, bringing these worlds, our world, to vivid life.”
“This is a work of serious literary fiction that illustrates issues and lifestyles of people in contemporary Tucson . . . it’s original, dramatically and poetically moving.”
“With prose that is vivid, sly, and original, and in stories that are smart and thought-provoking, Sheehan has written a collection that would be a great addition to any fiction list.”
Jewelry Box: A Collection of Histories
"Aurelie Sheehan's absorbing stories have depth miles beneath their compelling surface. They radiate a wisdom, beauty and originality rare in contemporary fiction."
"Aurelie Sheehan writes, with porcelain precision, stories tuned like poems that behave like memoir. Jewelry Box traces the spider-webbing tensions between life's sweetness and the need for strife."
"Aurelie Sheehan’s sterling collection, Jewelry Box, is mint. These splinters of story, shaved from massive glaciers of narrative, fracture like ice shards calving from a flow, like crimped reeding sliced from a ducat. These silver slivers work their way under the skin to worry there—lodged, seated, touched. Tangible, gingerly gingered treasures, each one. And each one, edged and embossed, authentic coin of the submerged and still untarnished realm.
“These “histories” can shimmer exquisitely jewel like.”
“The language is supercharged, as brilliant as rare metals mined from base earth. It takes on a lyrical chare in places, becomes songlike and poetic in others, and can still manage the blunt directness and brevity of the everyday, of the real, of the unembroidered.”
“Sometimes dream-like, autobiographical, or poetic, the book resists mere categorization in favor of assembling a vivid collection of instances imbued with nostalgia and import.”
--The Brooklyn Rail
“There are 58 delightful, tiny stories in this collection’s 108 pages, though the book is subtitled ‘A Collection of Histories.’…Microfictions, flash-memoirs, prose poems, incidents, anecdote, extended metaphors—there’s no differentiation on the book’s part, nor is there much need, as most of the pieces are glittering little truths whether factual or not….Sheehan writes like a fucking maniac, by any lapidary measure.”
--Inside Higher Ed [The Education of Oronte Churm]
“Sheehan’s histories focus on moments, on objects, on fragments. We, the readers, do the rest, carrying through our days Sheehan’s embodiments of familiar things, letting our own minds and experiences fill in her ellipses. Each of Sheehan’s histories reminds me of what she writes about the tulip in ‘Glass’: ‘it…grew even after it was cut.’”
--Three Guys One Book
History Lesson for Girls
"An intelligent, original coming-of-age novel from the author of The Anxiety of Everyday Objects (2004) and Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant (1994)...her language remains carefully off-kilter, gorgeously specific and shot through with unobtrusive wit. Lyrical, assured, heartbreaking."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"In her second novel, Sheehan juxtaposes small moments the way an artist uses colors, creating potency and meaning with immediate contrasts...A tender, unflinching, and distinctive view of how girls grow up."
"This wistful, gentle novel has something surprisingly harsh to say about coming of age in a culture of self-indulgence and spiritual foolishness."
--L.A. Times Book Review, cover story 7/16/06
"The '70s witnessed a clash between bohemianism and the civil rights movement and the stalwart old guard, and no one describes it better than the young woman in Aurelie Sheehan's History Lesson for Girls."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"Sheehan catches with consummate skill those perilous moments when girls gallop into the unknown territory of womanhood."
"Subtle and moving."
--O Magazine (summer fiction pick)
"Poignant...Sheehan reminds her readers that heartbreak is a requisite part of growing up."
"Aurelie Sheehan's funny, nimble, bright-eyed prose is far more honest than the fiction we call Western Civ. Relentless and relatable, History Lesson for Girls is the truest novel that I've found in ages. Read it. Now. By flashlight. In the prone position. If not solely to remember the place that you and I come from--the year before doubt, before sex, before adult injustice, all the raw deals we'll never understand and never really escape."
--Koren Zailckas, author of Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
"Aurelie Sheehan perfectly captures the breath-catching intensity of those early friendships between young girls, when adults feel peripheral but aren't and everything hangs in the balance of large and small acts of love and betrayal. Beautifully written, History Lesson for Girls has a wonderful memory for the details of an era many of us will never forget.
--Cammie McGovern, author of Eye Contact and The Art of Seeing
The Anxiety of Everyday Objects
“Exudes charm at every pore. Even better, its stylish, breezy exterior belies unexpected emotional depth.”
"'All good secretaries will eventually find truth in the hearts of men.' So begins Aurelie Sheehan's first novel. Not love, but truth. There's a difference, and in such subtle shadings lie the considerable pleasures of The Anxiety of Everyday Objects, a book distinguished from its peers -- as its hero Winona Bartlett is distinguished from hers -- by a fragile but persistent joy."
--Benjamin Cheever, Washington Post Book World
"Sheehan is an exquisite writer."
“Deliciously wacky debut novel...hilarious, sly, sharply observed, and one of a kind--more please.”
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A high-spirited, entertaining, thoroughly satisfying novel."
--Library Journal (starred review)
"An honest, revelatory exploration of work, art, and identity."
"[A] hilarious and occasionally touching tale."
--The Hartford Courant (chosen as a best book of 2004)
"An amusing and thoroughly entertaining first novel."
--Nancy Pearl, "The Beat," KUOW, Seattle's NPR
"The everyday is the exceptional in Aurelie Sheehan's The Anxiety of Everyday Objects, a bright, breezy, absorbing debut novel dappled with humor."
--The Arizona Daily Star
“But why only one cat?”
Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant
“Each paragraph is cinematic in its intensity, conveying angle by angle an uneasy tale of sexual liberties and repression.”
--The New York Times Book Review
“With their surprising turns of phrase and conversational intimacy, these stories of women coping with society’s expectations of them invite the reader to enter into a perceptual conspiracy with their narrators. Take a ride with Sheehan, and you will look differently at the world.”
-- Washington Post Book World
“Aurelie Sheehan renders a powerful female sexuality; the prose rushes forward, full of heat and instinct...Sheehan should be read and re-read.”
“Feminists and bored housewives take note: Sheehan’s inaugural volume makes Desperately Seeking Susan seem conservative and predictable.”
“An enormously important talent.”
“Dramatic collisions of images, swerving versions of what is called ‘the truth,’ and audacious shifts in tone make Aurelie Sheehan’s debut collection of stories something exhilarating to read, extraordinary to hold inside.”
“Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant is a marvelous introduction to Aurelie Sheehan’s musical, muscular prose. She writes about the explosive warfare between women and men with heartbreak and naughty delight.”