The New York Times Book Review

“[With] sentences…swift and wise, landing often like a gentle slap in the face…Gustine casts compassionate light on her protagonists’ dark paths, delivering highly choreographed moments of humanity from the absurdly comic to the acutely moving.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“In this dazzling debut collection, Gustine shows tremendous range, empathy, and spark…Gustine’s language is uniformly remarkable for its clarity and forthrightness.

Kirkus, Starred Review

“The intensity of people we might pass on the street every day makes this collection all the more powerful…Gustine’s stories give the impression that in every life there is a story worth telling, of triumph and of pain, if only we take the time to look.”

Booklist, Starred Review

“Gustine packs her short stories tightly, pitches them high and far, and they detonate on target…Her first collection aligns her with such short story stars as Joy Williams, Antonya Nelson, and Bonnie Jo Campbell.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Amy Gustine’s enormously enjoyable collection…focuses on families under siege. These 11 stories, each ambitious in scope, drop us into one nerve-racking situation after another.”

Miami Herald

“This carefully written collection of intense, sobering stories reminds us that the human condition is no piece of cake — but once in a while there are some tasty crumbs.”

BuzzFeed's 27 Most Exciting New Books of 2016

“Amy Gustine’s moving debut collection…contains an impressive range of stories about everything from conflict in the Middle East to child abuse and suicide. [E]very character comes alive with the emotional depth and empathy of Gustine’s writing.”

Library Journal

“[A] collection of 11 incandescent short stories…a disconcerting marvel, rife with undertow and carried out in crystalline clear prose and exquisite construction.”

Refinery29's 2016 Pop Culture Cheat Sheet

“Every so often, a book comes along that truly has the power to make you both laugh and cry — sometimes within a single page. Amy Gustine’s talent for unearthing the heartbreaking beauty within the seemingly mundane comes to life in this gorgeous collection. Each story unravels complexity that lives right below the surface — and compels us, in our own existences, to consider looking a little deeper.”

The Millions Most Anticipated Books of 2016

“A debut collection of crisp short stories about people in various forms of extremis — people with kidnapped sons, babies who won’t stop crying, too many cats. The scenarios vary wildly in terms of their objective badness, but that’s how life is, and the writer treats them all with gravity.”

For Books' Sake 2016 Fiction Highlights

“Gustine’s moving short stories explore the complexity of transient and familial relationships and the difficult feelings that result from love and morality.”

Bustle - 18 of February 2016's Best Books

“If you’re a short story connoisseur, you’ll love this collection. Gustine is a master at character relationships, showcasing captivating three dimensions to every character she writes.”

Hello Giggles - 9 New Books by Women We Can't Wait to Read

“Gustine’s debut collection of short stories explores the lives of ordinary people all as they manage some form of everyday hardship — be that a baby who won’t stop crying, or an infectious disease. Driven more by emotion than plot, Kirkus says the stories, ‘give the impression that in every life there is a story worth telling.'”


“The beating heart of this collection is the delicate nature of relationships and Gustine’s wit and her compassion and love for each of her characters shines off every page.”

The Lenny Letter

“If you read Gustine’s collection during your daily commute, anticipate missing your stop (it’s that kind of book).”

Book Clubbish 5 Great Picks for 2016

“A well-written and fascinating look at human nature and all of its secrets.”

The Globe and Mail

“Amy Gustine writes with clarity as if simply describing what passes in front of her. That seeming artlessness, fiction stripped of fiction’s aura, shows true mastery.”

Sparkle & Fuzz

“Another funny and honest short story collection, You Should Pity Us Instead will draw you in with the overarching theme of parent-child relationships. With its wide range of settings and subjects, there is absolutely no way you could get bored of this page-turner.”

VagaBomb: Best Books of February 2016

“Gustine’s stories are special in the way that they force you to cross all kinds of boundaries, both physical and emotional.”

The Northwest Review of Books

“At the heart of You Should Pity Us Instead is an awareness of how we complicate the human condition by deciding that things should be black and white…Gustine, cruel but crafty, gives [characters] a taste of satisfaction before taking it away. This makes for great stories.”

Best New Fiction

“This is a book well worth reading and rereading. It’s a deeply rewarding experience.”

Three Lives & Company Bookstore

“Amy Gustine has produced a poignant, genuine, and thoroughly entertaining collection of wide-ranging short stories.”

The Daily Dosage

“She’s a short story literary genius. Just when you think the story is about one thing, it’s also about another, and another.”

Heavy Feather Review

“It’s in the muddy waters of emotion where Gustine swims the deepest, realizing the complexities and contradictions of our everyday lives. She is willing to explore our most uncomfortable emotions—humiliation, revulsion, anger—yet realistically balances them with the most admirable ones—love, empathy, understanding, and even forgiveness.”

The Star

“The…stories in Gustine’s debut collection are…smart and agreeable, stories that pull us in, peopled with men and women to whom we can relate.”

The Southeast Review

“Amy Gustine displays a remarkable command of prose and narrative.”

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The New York Times Book Review

Library Journal

Miami Herald

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Bookliststarred review

San Francisco Chronicle

Michigan Quarterly Review

The Label, Top 5 Good Books to Read in 2016

Best New Fiction

The Northwest Review

Refinery29’s 2016 Pop Culture Cheat Sheet

The Millions’ Most Anticipated Books of 2016

For Books’ Sakes’ 2016 Fiction Highlights

BuzzFeed’s 27 Most Exciting New Books of 2016

Hello Giggles 9 New Books by Women We Can’t Wait to Read this February

Bustle18 of February 2016’s Best Books to Light Up Your Winter

BookRiotQuick Pick February 12, 2016

The Lenny LetterLit Thursday

BookClubbish5 Great Book Club Picks for 2016

The Globe and Mail

Sparkle & Fuzz9 Books on Our Radar for 2016

Fiction Writers Review, Stories We Love: “All the Sons of Cain”

VagaBomb, Best Books of February 2016

The Daily Dosage

Heavy Feather Review

The Star

The Southeast Review