A review of the story "Faulty Predictions" on Story 366:
What I love about “Faulty Predictions” is that we start en medias res, Hazel and our protagonist in Hazel’s car, on Halloween night, driving furiously across North Carolina, Hazel having seen a vision of a murder at a small college. Legit or not in her home town, Hazel doesn’t have the kind of power to stop a murder across the state, so she grabs her roomie and some costumes—cheapie, generic ghosts, just bedsheets with holes for eyes—and starts driving to a frat costume party in Charlotte with the intention of stopping a deadly stabbing. If that setup isn’t one of the best I’ve ever read, I don’t know.
[The stories] range, colorfully and empathically, across a number of worlds and human predicaments. Appealingly, the voices narrating them, whatever the point of view, share a winning, gentle, clear gravity. These are stories you can easily enter and dwell in, but which not only don't shy away from the difficult--they head straight for it.
The 10 luminous stories in Lin-Greenberg’s masterful collection are united by her examination of the various and devious ways people try to put things into perspective. She also follows the development and resolution of questionable decisions, the avenues ensuing actions take, and their consequences. Set in diverse locations, from a high-school library to a city art gallery to a small-town restaurant, the stories take universal human strengths and frailties writ large and reduce them to the most accessible and personal of encounters. Unrequited love induces a town’s favorite young woman to volunteer with the Peace Corps in Mongolia in “Miller Duskman’s Mistakes,” while sisterly devotion gets tested in the “Half and Half Club.” Chinese grandmothers fight over a statue of Jesus in “Prized Possessions,” and vigilante justice takes a surprising turn in the sweetly succinct “Bread.” A winner of the coveted Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, Lin-Greenberg deservedly joins such past recipients as Ha Jin, Kellie Wells, and Antonya Nelson as she offers a piquant look at life’s bittersweet moments.
As the book’s title suggests, life often consists of recalibrating our hopes and prospects—for others, ourselves, and the world around us. Yet Lin-Greenberg’s collection cautions against pessimism and, instead, imagines instances of “faulty prediction” as occasions for insight. The stories explore moments of emotional excess and failure that test the bonds of family or friendship and challenge characters to reexamine their own necessarily limited vantage points.
Read the full review at Kenyon Review Online
Unlike so many story collections today, which tend to the dark and cryptic, Faulty Predictions pulses with a bemused energy. Lin-Greenberg’s stories examine the foibles of a wide range of characters. . . . In these ten stories, Lin-Greenberg displays impressive insight into human nature and empathy for regular people trying to make sense of their lives and circumstances. She also possesses a nicely dry wit and a gift for realistic dialogue that pops off the page. Remember her name; she is a young writer worth watching.
Read the full review here.
From Heavy Feather Review:
Karin Lin-Greenberg’s collection, Faulty Predictions, winner of the prestigious Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, wonderfully captures the moments when characters begin to see beyond their preconceptions into a fuller view of their lives and others’. The moments themselves are both large and small—ranging from a high school student’s suicide to a sister and brother’s unsuccessful shopping trip for a wedding dress—but in each, the characters emerge, for better or worse, understanding something new about themselves and the world around them. . . . So much of contemporary fiction deals with the unexplainable or the random in life, and by contrast, Lin-Greenberg’s stories remind us there are edifying lessons to be learned from the routine lives we lead, and help us settle into the understanding of how much we have left to learn.
Read the full review here.
Reviews from Gandy Dancer:
Karin Lin-Greenberg’s collection makes us consider our own families and communities, our prejudices and insecurities. To read these stories is to connect to fellow human beings from many places, to understand their individual and universal struggles, and to reinvigorate the inherent human empathy that unites us all. It is also to understand how our faulty predictions about ourselves and those around us ultimately distract us from this unity. Lin-Greenberg, through her poignant, hopeful, and funny stories, offers redemption not only for her characters, but for her readers as well. --Ethan Keeley. Click here for the complete review.
Faulty Predictions moves like a glass of water, hydrating with little resistance. The stories that are refreshing in their voice and perspective as they echo old lessons we might have forgotten over the years. --Chrissy Montelli
The originality of these stories is immediately compelling. The relationships and conflicts presented feel unique to Lin-Greenberg—like she’s the only one who could ever devise these scenarios. Moreover, these odd yet believable plots possess an emotional poignancy that is fresh and powerful, even in quieter moments. --Sarah Diaz
Read Montelli and Diaz's reviews here.