The Deer in the Mirror

Cary Holladay

The Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction


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

$26.95 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.

Cary Holladay has published seven volumes of fiction, including Brides in the Sky, Horse People: Stories, The Quick-Change Artist, and The Deer in the MirrorThe Her stories and essays have appeared in Ecotone, Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Oxford American, Prairie Schooner, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other journals. Her story “Merry-Go-Sorry” was selected by Stephen King for an O. Henry award.