The Deer in the Mirror

Cary Holladay

The Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction


Fiction/Short Stories (single author)
172 pp. 6x9

$24.95 paper 978-0-8142-5186-7
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$14.95 Kindle 978-0-8142-7002-8
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Table of Contents


“Holladay’s main characters lead complex lives from 1791 to 1900, within historical detail so subtly interwoven with their personal stories that their emotions are rendered pitch-perfect and wholly intriguing. Not a word is wasted, none is excessive. Sly humor abounds: what other writer would imagine in the reflection of interior mirrors deer free to roam a woman’s house. Holladay’s fiction is a unique treasure.” —Eve Shelnutt, author of Where We Were Cherished: Poetry

With a song-like voice and deep knowledge of the history and folklore of her native Virginia, Cary Holladay creates dazzling stories of hardship and ecstasy. A young widow romances a German immigrant while weighing a proposal from the colonial governor. Convicted of murdering her master, an enslaved woman is burned at the stake. A breakneck stagecoach ride gives a bricklayer’s apprentice the power to save or destroy his fellow passengers. An aging bachelor despairs of his marriage to a Confederate orphan. A beautiful adventuress joins the 1898 Alaska Gold Rush, charms a violent gangster, and figures out the secret of his fabulous wealth.

This seventh book from an award-winning author spans 300 years in the Old Dominion. Holladay’s people fight the wars, battle the floods, and wrest a living from a wilderness where “Time is God’s, not ours”—so says a reformed prostitute whose obsessive love for an amnesiac Yankee soldier defines her life. With a sensuous, lyrical style, Holladay holds a distinctive place in contemporary fiction.

All of these stories have appeared in major literary journals and anthologies, including Tin House and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best.

Cary Holladay teaches at the University of Memphis.