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Daddy Dead

Zoe King is an independent girl growing up in a family of strong, damaged women and a cheating, frequently absent, father. Despite the odds, and with the help of her doll, Knife, and her learning-different brother, Willy, Zoe takes on the challenges of the world with imagination, even when her life is threatened by her father and an abusive juvenile justice system. Readers who loved Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or the tough individualism of Kya of Where the Crawdads Sing will want to read Zoe’s story.

Author: Julia van Middlesworth
Paperback : 322 pages
ISBN-10 : 1947175114
ISBN-13 : 978-1947175112

About the Author

Julia Van Middlesworth earned a BA and MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She’s the recipient of the New Jersey Council on the Arts fellowship, the winner of the Fish Anthology short story prize, the Sean O’Faolain short story prize and has been published in The Literary Review, Southword, The Horizon Review, Fish Anthology, Sean O’Faolain Anthology, Long Story Short, Broadside, Hibiscus, Bottomfish and The Plains Poetry Journal. Julia is a founding member of The Sourland Mountain Workshop and editor of The Sourland Mountain Review. Julia lives in Somerville, NJ, with her husband Lawrence, rescue cat Barnabus Collins and rescue dog Horatio.

You’re in for a major brilliant read with Julia van Middelsworth’s Daddy Dead – right from the first paragraph. With strikingly original characters – Aunt Oink, Mother Blind, Knife, King Car, Brother Willy, Toro of the red bow-tie, the first-person narrator spins an entire world of language and imaginative wonder that is breath-taking. The linguistic vitality and imagination compels you to keep reading in dazzlement and makes you regret coming to the end lest you leave that world behind: Encore, Ms. van Middelsworth! Encore!

—Thomas E. Kennedy, author of the four novels of The Copenhagen Quartet

Daddy Dead is the astonishing first-person account of Zoe King, an eight-year-old girl with a vivid imagination whose family is coming apart. Julia Van Middlesworth brings us Zoe’s secret world–full of vision, hijinks, and dark humor. This is an unusually beautiful and unforgettable novel.

—Rene Steinke, author of: The Fires, Holy Skirts, Friendswood

You might think the precocious, luminous little girl making rough poetry out of a rotten life is all too familiar–but meet Zoe King, narrator of Julia Van Middlesworth’s Daddy Dead, and think again. She wears Knife, her punk Barbie and closest confidante, in a holster. She knows damn well what her Aunt Oink is up to. And in re her feckless father’s injunction, “Children should not be seen or heard,” has she got a story to tell. Steeped in the southern tradition of poignant hilarity and clear-eyed bewilderment, Daddy Dead has a voice all its own. It’s inspired and earnest. It’s brash and insistent. And it’s madly, heartbreakingly good.

—Ellen Akins, author of: Life Like a Knife, Little Woman, Hometown Brew, Hometown Movie, Public Life

Julia’s writing style is punchy and original. Like Flannery O’Connor, she takes reality and makes it both strange and ominous. Like David Lynch’s films, the images have the power to attract and disturb at the same time. As the narrator gets closer to her escape, the prose brings images of running pigs feet, feathers and a flying car.

—Jennifer Matthews, poet, Munster Literature Centre, Cork, Ireland

The winning story Daddy Dead captured me from the first nine words: ‘You can buy baby pigs feet in a jar.’ That’s an opening to stop you in your tracks. This is a sparky, witty story with dark depths; in it a young girl observes the non-too-savory activities of the adults in her life with great humor and sadness. The story folds back over on itself, with clever and restrained use of several motifs: pigs, feather, Paris, clouds and pillows. Her is a writer in control of the material: nothing is overdone and everything fits. I read and re-read it and found more to enjoy each times.

—Nuala Ni’ Chonchuir-O’Connor, Judge Sean O’Faolain Short Story Award, Munster Literature Centre, Cork, Ireland. Author of: Miss Emily, The Closet of Savage Mementos, Nude, Becoming Belle, Joyride to Jupiter

Julia Van Middlesworth’s skillful, fast paced stories are always surprising. Again and again, clumsy human disaster is redeemed by quixotic human creativity.

—Penelope Schott, author of: A is for Anne, The Half-Scalped Woman, The Pest Maiden, Baiting the Void, Crow Mercies, Serpent Love, House of the Cardamom Seed, Bailing the River, How I Became an Historian, Lovesong for Dufur

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Jack Smith, The Writer Magazine