Reviews of The Suburban Swindle

  • “Corley has a superlative ear for the music of language. Her lines and rhythms are rich, lyrical, and energetic, carrying the reader along and juxtaposing interestingly with the tension in the stories themselves, reflecting the tension within the characters, between the hard façade and the longing lonely vulnerability behind it… Jackie Corley’s The Suburban Swindle is an impressive debut that calls to mind Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, a collection of gritty, hard-life stories that are also poetry in the form of fiction. Jackie Corley’s writing captures and conveys the impassable conflict of being human at every level.”
    -Josh Maday, NewPages, April 1, 2009
  • “And here is the key to the brilliance of this collection; there is God in these people, even if it’s hidden deep and swathed in pain and ugliness and carelessness. These are stories that don’t shy away from anything: the realities of class, the pain of love and the simmering violence in all of us. Corley’s evenness of tone truly astonishes. She shows a impressive, sustained effort and does justice to words and humans. And regardless of squalor and suffering, Corley insists that our lives have meaning, have true and astonishing beauty, and our time on earth, even in New Jersey, is profoundly precious. This is soulful stuff. Read it.”
    -pr, HTMLGiant, March 20, 2009
  • “Jackie Corley’s collection of short stories is a book of precision — each word, each sentence, each paragraph, and each story is neatly placed in front of the reader’s eyes. It isn’t too much; it isn’t too little; it is precise and quiet and powerful. There are subtle connections, linking these pieces, making a saintly whole. There is this haunting sacred relationship between these stories — it creeps to the end of each page.”
    -Shome Dasgupta, the footnote, December 22, 2008
  • “…the result in this collection is a kind of fiction in which the form of expression doesn’t merely point us to its subject but is dynamically a part of it in a way that I, for one, find impressive.”
    -Daniel Green, The Reading Experience, October 27, 2008
  • “In her distinctive voice, [Corley] unravels the experience of growing up, exposing the ambivalence and uncertainty of teenage and early 20-something years, identifying the precise cocktail of anticipation and possibility, tempered with the downers of anxiety, fear and nostalgia for lost innocence which she characterises as ‘oiled sadness.'”
    -Katherine Woodfine, bookmunch, October 2008
  • “Corley’s writing is concise yet provocative. She crafts her characters and images with precision and delicacy. Her writing is insightful and ultimately empathetic. Beneath these damaged people are souls craving redemption and grace, and occasionally they find them, if only through distorted memories.”
    -Catherine Harrison, JMWW, Fall 2008

Praise for The Suburban Swindle

  • “Sharp, bold, and deeply affecting, Jackie Corley’s stories are like poetry made from the gritty stuff of hard-scrabble life. Dead garden snakes and forgotten video games, gravestone statues that seem to dance in the night: in Corley’s able hands, the mundane, even the ugly, are transformed. The young men and women who struggle through her slim, piercing collection, stay with you long after you’ve finished reading; tough-talking and scarred, tattooed and tender, they search Corley’s dirty, sparkling New Jersey streets for something always just out of reach.”A fiercely original debut. Corley is a talent to watch.”
    Scott Snyder, author of Voodoo Heart
  • “Finally a 20-something author who is neither precious nor coddled. Finally a young writer who writes about life as it actually is instead of some trust fund prick’s fantasy of America. Jackie Corley is almost completely alone among the new set of writers in that she is actually telling stories about real humans. And she is telling them well, with the kind of immediacy that most young writers have had beaten out of them in MFA factories. Corley is original and unforgiving. I cannot say enough about Jackie Corley. She doesn’t flinch. Read this book.”
    Ian Spiegelman, Welcome to Yesterday
  • “I am tempted to compare Jackie Corley’s writing to a strong cup of coffee. It wakes you up, it gets you addicted, and sometimes it’s burning hot. Or I could say it’s like whiskey–it’s strong, it blurs your vision, and gives you the guts to face the hard truths and bitter pains of life. But forget about those liquid comparisons, because Corley’s work is solid! The Suburban Swindle unleashes a new, bold, American voice that you’d be foolish to ignore.”
    Kevin Sampsell, Creamy Bullets

Quotes – Reviews

  • “The exclusively online Word Riot ( publishes some of the most original work around.”
    Nina MacLaughlin, The Boston Phoenix review of literary magazines.
  • “Jackie Corley gave the best reading of the evening from one of her own short stories titled, ‘Suburban Swindle.’ Corley’s story was a gritty sentimental interpretation of love between a little brother and older sister. Her voice was fierce and independent but tempered with hard knocks love, it reminded me of Jodie Foster’s characters. At one point she describes a feeling in the story as ‘thick and beautiful,’ which I think captures her tone. I’m looking forward to hearing more from her.”
    Elizabeth DeCoursey, New York Cool review of Plastic Sugar Press’ August 17, 2004 reading.
  • “Jackie Corley, creator of Word Riot, a monthly online literature magazine, was the sole female author. Her piece was surprisingly mellow, concentrating on her relationship with her brother. And yet the simplicity of its theme belies the complexity of the work’s form and language. Weaving metaphors and analogies more adeptly than your grandmother’s yarn, Corley connected to her audience and the material without resorting to emotional bulimia. Through a detached lens and a good dose of ironic retrospect, Corley delivered a poignant and moving conclusion on family ties and one’s ability to save siblings, or anyone, from themselves.”
    Susan Posluszny, Yale Daily News review of Feed the Young Writers September 28, 2004 reading.


by Lee Rourke
3:AM Magazine – July 29, 2009

by Trace Sheridan
34th Parallel – December 2008

by Tom Chesek
Red Bank Orbit – September 8, 2008

by Ananda Selah Osel
The CommonLine Project – June 30, 2008

Interview by Nick Ostdick
In the Nick of Time – June 19, 2008

by Molly Tolsky
Columbia College Chicago’s Publishing Lab – May 2008

Interview by Tina Crandell
Absolute Write – May 4, 2008

by Amy Guth
Pilcrow Lit Fest Blog – May 2, 2008

by Jeffrey Yamaguchi – January 22, 2005

by Julie Compton
The Daily Targum (Rutgers University) – December 6, 2004

by Susan Posluszny
Yale Daily News – October 1, 2004

by Elizabeth DeCoursey
New York Cool – September 2004

by Dave Hoffman
Steppin’ Out Magazine – June 23, 2004

by Staff
The Hudson Reporter – June 10, 2004

by Caren Lissner
MobyLives – December 9, 2003

by Karel Chan
The Bi-College News – April 8, 2003

by Rachel Van Kirk
The Hub – January 24, 2003

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