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Maud Casey - book author

Maud Casey lives in Washington, D.C. She is an Associate Professor of English and teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Maryland. She also teaches in the low-residency MFA Program at Warren Wilson and was a faculty member at the Breadloaf Writers Conference in 2009.

She has received the Italo Calvino Prize (2008), the St. Francis College Literary Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2008-2009 DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship, and international fellowships from the Fundacion Valparaiso and the Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers.

Her essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, Salon, Poets and Writers, A Public Space and Literary Imagination.

Maud Casey is the author of books: The Man Who Walked Away, The Art of Mystery: The Search for Questions, The Shape of Things to Come, Genealogy, Drastic: Stories, Fairy Tale Review, The Brown Issue, Being Bodies (Conjunctions 69)

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Author Books

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01
In a trance-like state, Albert walks — from Bordeaux to Poitiers, from Chaumont to Macon, and farther afield to Turkey, Austria, Russia — all over Europe. When he walks, he is called a vagrant, a mad man. He is chased out of towns and villages, ridiculed and imprisoned. When the reverie of his walking ends, he's left wondering where he is, with no memory of how he got there. His past exists only in fleeting images.

Loosely based on the case history of Albert Dadas, a psychiatric patient in the hospital of St. André in Bordeaux in the nineteenth century, The Man Who Walked Away imagines Albert's wanderings and the anguish that caused him to seek treatment with a doctor who would create a diagnosis for him, a narrative for his pain.

In a time when mental health diagnosis is still as much art as science, Maud Casey takes us back to its tentative beginnings and offers us an intimate relationship between one doctor and his patient as, together, they attempt to reassemble a lost life. Through Albert she gives us a portrait of a man untethered from place and time who, in spite of himself, kept setting out, again and again, in search of wonder and astonishment.
02
A sensitive and nuanced exploration of a seldom-discussed subject by an acclaimed novelist

The fourteenth volume in the Art of series conjures an ethereal subject: the idea of mystery in fiction. Mystery is not often discussed―apart from the genre―because, as Maud Casey says, “It’s not easy to talk about something that is a whispered invitation, a siren song, a flickering light in the distance.” Casey, the author of several critically acclaimed novels, reaches beyond the usual tool kit of fictional elements to ask the question: Where does mystery reside in a work of fiction? She takes us into the Land of Un―a space of uncertainty and unknowing―to find out and looks at the variety of ways mystery is created through character, image, structure, and haunted texts, including the novels of Shirley Jackson, Paul Yoon, J. M. Coetzee, and more. Casey’s wide-ranging discussion encompasses spirit photography, the radical nature of empathy, and contradictory characters, as she searches for questions rather than answers. The Art of Mystery is a striking and vibrant addition to the much-loved Art of series.
03
Isabelle, a woman in her thirties without any of the trappings of a grown-up life, has just been fired from her job at a San Francisco phone company. Returning to the midwestern suburb of her childhood, Standardsville, Illinois, she contends with her dating single mother, a neighbor who once appeared on The Honeymooners, and an ex-boyfriend. She also becomes a mystery shopper for a temp agency, posing as a variety of potential tenants for newly built suburban communities to access their exclusive services.

Enchanted by the possiblities of disguise, Isabelle spins a web of lies that keeps the world at a distance until she unearths long-kept secrets that force her to rethink everything she thought she knew.
04
Meet the Hennarts: Samantha Hennart, a poet with writer's block; her husband, Bernard, obsessed with the life of a nineteenth-century Belgian mystic with stigmata; their son, Ryan, a mediocre rock musician; and their eighteen-year-old daughter, Marguerite, who is quietly losing her mind. A meditation on family, faith, and mental illness, Genealogy is an operatic story of one family's unraveling and ultimate redemption.
05
Meet the college graduate working in a whole body–donation clinic; a young woman obsessed with Benedictine monks; a middle-aged woman who becomes a stand-in talk-show guest; unlikely friends who meet in a domestic violence shelter; a young girl and the father who stole her away to escape his wife's mental illness; a graduate student from a suburban family who believes her physical connection to the world is deteriorating. Maud Casey -- author of The Shape of Things to Come, a New York Times Notable Book -- explores how we survive modern crises of loss and love through the lives of emotional and geographic nomads. Each flirts with madness and self-destruction while reaching toward life. These simple gestures of optimism and vitality, gorgeously rendered, make drastic an unforgettable collection.
06
THE BROWN ISSUE is Fairy Tale Review's seventh annual issue. It was Guest Edited by acclaimed novelist Timothy Schaffert, who writes in his Editor's Note: "Brown is the color of the wolf, of the harvest-ravaged farm, of thatched roofs, of cinnamon cake, of autumn, of snuff, of wooden boxes (bridal chests, watch cases, humidors, coffins). If ever there was a color more suited to earthly existence it's the color of earth itself. And earthly existence is at the very heart of fairy tales, despite all the unearthly circumstances depicted." Contributors include E. Annette Binder, Maud Casey. Melissa Coss Aquino, Elizabeth Crane, Melissa Cundieff-Pexa, Ben Debus, Brandel France de Bravo, Owen King, Drew Krewer, Peter Kuper, Sarah Messer, Brian Oliu, Lisa Perrin, Judith Slater, Dayana Stetco, and Jim Tolan.