Book Cover

Our Sister Who Will Not Die


Rebecca Bernard

240 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

Pub Date: August, 2022

Subjects: Fiction

Series: The Journal Non/Fiction Prize

Imprint: Mad Creek

Order Paperback $23.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5840-8
Order PDF ebook$19.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-8224-3

Listen to Rebecca Bernard on the New Books Network

 “Rebecca Bernard plumbs her characters’ darkest moments to extract something compassionate and gleamingly alive. One after the next her stories astonished me with their humanity and raw courage.” —Lee Conell, author of The Party Upstairs 

 “These edgy, unflinching, yet compassionate stories plunge us deep into the complexity of messy lives, deep into the minds of people we might prefer to dismiss. These complicated people—deftly brought to life on these pages—are like those who live in the world around us. They may even be us.” —Leslie Pietrzyk, author of Admit This to No One

“Rebecca Bernard’s stories are scary exactly the way real life would be scary if we were aware of how close we were to great joy or great horror every step we take. I constantly felt as if I were standing on the crumbling edge of a cliff, entranced by the breathtaking view.” —Tony Earley, author of Mr. Tall

 “I read Our Sister Who Will Not Die in one sitting, as if diving into dark waters. After each story, I resurfaced with a gasp, certain only that I must dive again, reach deeper. A dazzling darkness beckons at the heart of these stories. The people Bernard writes into existence have unsettled me deeply. I care about them with an intensity that stuns me.” —Miroslav Penkov, author of East of the West

“All real lives are full of dark instincts, lost chances, moments in which everything hangs in the balance, or tips sideways. We’re struck by chance, how one thing becomes another over a lifetime. Our Sister Who Will Not Die is all about these moments and connections: moments of grief but also loose threads that reconnect in a profound way. A truly great story collection.” —Scott Blackwood, author of See How Small

 “This ambitious, daring story collection takes the reader to strange and unsettling places. Bernard explores, with great skill and unfailing compassion, subjects which many other writers would simply find too daunting to take on.” —Ian McGuire, author of The Abstainer

“If Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior and Ottessa Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World had a lovechild, it would be Our Sister Who Will Not Die. Wild and subversive in the very best ways, these stories had me by the throat.” —Nick White, author of How to Survive a Summer

A man recently released from prison returns to the dating scene and struggles to find the right time to reveal his long-past murder conviction. A grieving mother considers her own role in her son’s death. A boy enables the destructive addiction of the person he’s in love with. A dog, witness to his owner’s violent acts, begins to sweat. Each story in Rebecca Bernard’s Our Sister Who Will Not Die brings the reader face to face with the frailties of human character—and demonstrates how the yearning for love and connection allows beauty and resilience to emerge from darkness. In questioning traditional formulations of good and evil, Bernard’s stories ask us to recognize our own culpabilities and acknowledge our shared humanity. None of us is the worst thing we’ve ever done, these stories compel us to believe. Hope is always worth letting in.


“[Bernard] creates a fascinating variety of ways to tell stories that engage risky narrative terrain. … Our Sister Who Will Not Die will appeal best to readers who are drawn to characters with precarious footholds on social acceptance, or even on reality.” —Emily Choate, Chapter 16

“Without asking us to ignore or forgive, Bernard encourages us to rethink first impressions and to search deeply for compassion. … The stories [in Bernard’s collection] remind us that facing our fears and connecting with others allows us to ‘come, at last, to honesty, to ugliness, together.’” —John Wegner, Necessary Fiction

“Rebecca Bernard explores the darkest innerworkings of her characters … while maintaining their humanity. … From pedophilia to drug addiction, abuse to adultery, each story highlights the painful and disordered elements of humankind but never loses the tether of empathy. … Separately, the machinations and characters within [the stories] are powerful, insightful, and absorbing. But together, this compilation and the dynamics within the relationships are unforgettable.” —Jenny Maattala, Southern Review of Books

“The characters of Our Sister Who Will Not Die are exquisitely chiseled, the situations nauseatingly challenging, the language delightfully direct and emotionally wise—so the results are refreshing and painful at once. … Our immersion in these uncomfortable spaces repels us. But Bernard won’t let us turn away. She makes us look closer, and we find ourselves identifying with, and rooting for, her broken, twisted heroes.” —Jody Hobbs Hesler, Another Chicago Magazine

Author Photo

Rebecca Bernard is Assistant Professor in the English Department at Angelo State University. Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, Southwest Review, Juked, Pleiades, and elsewhere and has been recognized in Best American Short Stories.


In the Family

First Date


Harold, Protector of the Children

The Pleasures of Television


Our Daughters Whose Blood

A Most Pathetic and Confused Creature

Our Sister Who Will Not Die

We Have Disappeared



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