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The Age of Discovery and Other Stories

Becky Hagenston

192 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

Pub Date:  August, 2021

Subjects: Fiction

Series: The Journal Non/Fiction Prize

Imprint: Mad Creek

Order Paperback $21.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5794-4
Order PDF ebook$17.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-8125-3

Winner of the 2022 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Prize for Best fiction.

Read an interview with Becky Hagenston published in Fiction Writers Review

“Hagenston creates incredibly creative stories where characters deal with a variety of very real emotions in somewhat fantastical situations, either at home or abroad. At its essence, this enjoyable collection explores how nothing is ever exactly as it seems.” —Emily Park, Booklist

The Age of Discovery and Other Stories is a wonderfully dark and strange place, filled with dream bakeries, modern-day witches, robots, and pickpockets. And here too are stories of parenthood, marriages gone wrong, and people longing to be freed from the ghosts that haunt them. A beautiful and fierce collection.”  —Alexander Weinstein, author of Universal Love

“These stories are ambitious and inventive. Each time, the most compelling element is not the strangeness of the intricately imagined future but the ways in which the characters learn to interact within it.”—Susan Perabo, author of Why They Run the Way They Do

“These ingenious stories are so funny and sparkling and slyly inventive that their pain catches you by surprise, like a sunburn after a day at the beach. Often they explode in several directions at once, examining a single incident from multiple perspectives, packing more into ten pages than some novels do in two hundred.”—Eric Puchner, author of Last Day on Earth

In Becky Hagenston’s fourth collection, the real and the fantastic collide in stories that span from Mississippi to Europe, and from the recent past to the near future. The characters are sex-toy sellers, internet trolls, parents, students, and babysitters—all trying to make sense of a world where nothing is quite what it appears to be. A service robot makes increasingly disturbing requests. A middle school teacher is accused of witchcraft—and realizes the accusations might be true. Two college students devise a way to avoid getting hit on in bars. A baker finds bizarre anomalies in his sourdough. A librarian follows her dead ex-husband through the Atlanta airport. In these stories, men and women confront grief, danger, loneliness, and sometimes—the strangest discovery of all—unexpected joy. Hagenston delivers a collection that is, at its weird and shining heart, about people discovering what—for better or worse—they are capable of.

Author photo

Becky Hagenston is Professor of English at Mississippi State University. She is the recipient of two O. Henry Prizes and a Pushcart Prize. In addition to The Age of Discovery and Other Stories, she is the author of the collections A Gram of Mars, Strange Weather, and Scavengers.  




Seven Ravens

The Age of Discovery

The Celebrity

Young Susan

Hi Ho Cherry-O

Sea Ice

Sharon by the Seashore

Cornfield, Cornfield, Cornfield


Hematite, Apatite


Basic Commands

The Sitters

Starry Night

In the Museum of Tense Moments

Storage and Retrieval


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