Kathie’s Blog Entries:

Reviews

THE HOME FOR WAYWARD CLOCKS:

To purchase, click here: The Main Street Rag Online Bookstore

"Home for Wayward Clocks" CoverJacket Blurbs:

“Kathie Giorgio’s “The Home For Wayward Clocks” is, as one would expect, intricately obsessed by time, and the ticking of memory and the revelation of secret tales give this distinctive novel its special power.”  – Phillip Graham

“Kathie Giorgio has crafted a unique and believable tale about loss, love and learning how to live.  A simple clock will never look the same after you finish this novel.”  – Kris Radish

“’The Home For Wayward Clocks’ is constructed with the same degree of intricacy and care as the timepieces contained within the novel’s depths.  Giorgio portrays misfits with a sympathy few other writers can.  Her first novel is a triumph that can stand alongside such classics as Carson McCullers’ ‘The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter,’ as an homage to those who would otherwise go unnoticed.”  – Shaindel Beers

“Click by click, pin by hammer, nut by verge, Kathie Giorgio has constructed a cuckoo clock of a novel complete with wild chimes, ominously swinging pendulums, and darkly mirrored interiors.  Minute by minute, turn by turn, her finely tuned prose makes our hearts strike midnight.”  – Abby Frucht

From Rubrews:

“It is not often I find a novel that I can breathe into my soul and come back to time and again. My fingers linger over the words, tracing their lines as if they were veins on a hand. I generally save such intimacy for poetry.  There are a lot of messages, lessons, and experiences within the pages of this book, please climb into the moment with me and listen to the chimes as the time strikes noon.” – Click here to read the full review.

From Amazon:

“I found out about this book because the author, Kathie Giorgio, facilitates a workshop for novelists I am in at AllWriters in Waukesha, WI. When I bought it from an independent bookseller downtown, I had no idea what it was about, other than a love for clocks, a small repair shop, and an Iowa town. I had doubts whether the book would hold my attention, and I’m embarrassed to admit I wasn’t sure if it would even be any good (I figured it must be, but, I simply had no idea what to expect). When I got through the prologue and the beginning of Chapter One, I was caught totally off-guard: I literally had to close the book and get up from my chair, just because I was so surprised. Further into the book, I quickly found myself moved, almost to tears. I must say, the appearance of the book and the absence of a synopsis on the back left me with a far different and far vaguer expectation: The book’s storyline is far more dramatic and moving than what I imagined it would be. In some ways, not knowing much going into a book can have its advantages, though; I sometimes find that a synopsis can give away too much. Indeed; a large part of the joy of reading is DISCOVERING. And so: A Home for Wayward Clocks explores the eccentricities of a man with a deep love for clocks, the curiosities of his shop and its impact on others, his struggles with love, and the dark element of his past that contributes to and shapes it all. A Home for Wayward Clocks is truly a beautiful book. I highly recommend it.”  Five stars.

“As an avid reader and psychotherapist, I found The Home for Wayward Clocks absolutely fascinating! The stories of the clocks were delightfully woven into the life of the protagonist. The author demonstrates a wonderful understanding of the obsessive, compulsive mind and handles her characters, with their quirks and whims, with heart-warming gentleness. I enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who likes clocks, eccentric people, or books.”  Five stars.

“The most impressive thing about this book from a reader’s standpoint is the content. The Home for Wayward Clocks deals openly, honestly and respectfully with a myriad of often taboo topics. They aren’t topics that should be taboo, but rather ones that many of us aren’t up to the challenge of discussing. Addressing delicate issues in this type of healthy and intelligent manner is the sort of dialogue we need more of. Another thing I like about the book is the way the format creates a unique reading experience. The thread of one story carries through, while offering, in alternating chapters, glimpses into lives other than that of the main character, with clocks as the common thread linking all of the stories. It’s a wonderful choice, as clocks, like people, come in a vast array of varieties, but in essence are all the same. Lastly, this book is very well written, always a plus. For the quality of the writing alone, it’s a book everyone should read.”  Five stars.

“I enjoyed this book for several reasons.
James, the protagonist, is a wounded but sympathetic character trying to carve out a life, in his small towm clock museum, despite carrying deep scars received at the hands of his abusive mother. My background working with wounded children, undoubtedly, influenced my appreciation for this character. The author handles this subject matter with remarkable insight and sensitivity.
The other thing I enjoyed was the way she alternated chapters (every other chapter was a stand-alone short story related to the clocks James acquired for his museum). I appreciated the richness these individual stories brought to the main storyline.
The author’s voice, her skillful use of repetition, and her clear pitched treatment of the human condition made a subject that could have been murky and depressing, an pleasurable read.” Four stars.

From GoodReads:

“This book takes you on an intimate journey through human behavior. The author is extremely adept at conveying the psyche of each character, all of whom are very relatable. The real fascination is in how she managed to skillfully interlink so many different stories with the life of a single character via something as seemingly mundane as a clock. The stories are often dark and disturbing, but also insightful and moving. It took me a long time to read this book because each character causes you to stop and reflect, and the storylines are so enveloping, I had to occasionally come up for air. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out!”  Five stars.

“This book was a pleasant surprise. It contains a unique plot interwoven with short stories that can each stand on their own. James is the caretaker of the The Home For Wayward Clocks. The abuse he suffered as a child connected him to clocks in a way most people would not understand. But then a teenager comes into his life who seems to care for the clocks almost as he does. Along the way we learn the stories of many of the clocks he has collected. Good character development, great storytelling and well-written.”  Five stars.

“This is without a doubt one of the best books of 2011 (even if I didn’t discover it until 2012). Novel, short fiction, it has everything. Fantastic from start to finish!” Five stars.

“I love the way this book is laid out –the alternating chapters of James’ voice and the clocks’ stories. And I love how Giorgio has filled in James’ past while creating a story in the present. And Cooley! Love it, just love it.” Five stars.

“One of the best contemporary novels I’ve read. A beautiful tale of healing from abuse.” Five stars.

ENLARGED HEARTS

To purchase, click here:  The Main Street Rag Online Bookstore

"Enlarged Hearts" CoverJacket Blurbs:

“It is tempting to compare Kathie Giorgio to our best female story writers Lorrie Moore, Antonya Nelson, Mary Gaitskill.  She has their verve, their wit, and the resonant depth of such work.  But, like all of the best writers, her voice is singular and her vision is quirky, her ear is original, and her stories leave us in a place we’ve never been.  Enlarged Hearts is one of the best reading experiences I’ve had in a long time.”  – Laura Kasischke

“Kathie Giorgio’s Enlarged Hearts is fascinating, funny, and deeply—I mean deeply—moving. The heroine is “the Fat Girl,” who works at the Large & Luscious Large Women’s Clothing Boutique in the mall. But she is not always the same Fat Girl. Structured as theme and variations, the book lets us in on the varied lives of several—and perhaps all—Fat Girls. The one thing all the Fat Girls have in common is an “enlarged heart,” a heart bursting with generous love. It’s impossible not to lose your own heart to one who loves so freely, and I hope everyone, fat or skinny, male or female, straight or gay, will run out to buy this wonderful collection.” – Kelly Cherry

“Kathie Giorgio’s wonderful new story collection, Enlarged Hearts, has a heart, as my mother used to say, as big as all outdoors. The heroines, the self-named Fat Girls, of her stories are full of love and generosity, even when it is not always returned by the thinner, meaner souls in this world. Reading this collection made me wiser and more human and just thinking about Giorgio’s stories makes me smile.”- Jesse Lee Kercheval

From the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:

“In her collection of stories “Enlarged Hearts,” Waukesha writer Kathie Giorgio restores humanity and dignity to a pair of subjects often treated with derision: big women and the mall workplace.

Oh, and she’s bringing sexy back to the plus-size world, too.

It’s rare to find a literary writer who depicts the inner life of a single overweight or obese person with both acute honesty and compassion. Giorgio populates her book with more than a dozen such women. The protagonist of each story is simply known as the Fat Girl, though each story features a different woman. Some are single, some are married; some are size 22 or 24, some are approaching size 50.” – Click here to read the full article. 

From Amazon:

“I read this book because I treasure her previous book, The Home for Wayward Clocks. I have three words for Enlarged Hearts . . . CREATIVE – – POIGNANT — TRAGIC. Finishing this book 5 minutes ago, I understood the illustration on the cover. Enlarged Hearts is insightful on SO many levels. I wonder if the author even understands the depth of her writing! Every psychotherapist should read Kathie’s books. I look forward to this author’s next book!  Thank you, Kathie.”  Five stars.

“I’ve read few books that understand the (enlarged) human condition as well as Kathie Giorgio’s book, Enlarged Hearts. The Fat Girl stories made me laugh, cry and cheer. I can only hope there’s a second Fat Girl series on the way! I’m so there…” Five stars.

From GoodReads:

“Absolutely LOVED this collection of short stories! The stories are poignant, real, and some are sad. The story “The Fat Girl in Disguise” made me cry. I wanted them to accept her so badly! Then I wanted her to accept herself so badly. The last story is really uplifting, clever, and made me just giggle. Kathie Giorgio has an amazing talent. In this day and age it’s not OK to discriminate against many groups of people, but boy it sure seems OK to torture Fat People. I suggest everyone read this book for a little perspective!” Five stars.

YouTube video book trailer for Enlarged Hearts:

 

Learning to Tell (A Life) TimeLearning to Tell (A Life) Time

To purchase, click here: The Main Street Rag Online Bookstore

“Cooley never expected to cry when her mother died.”

Jacket Blurbs:

“In this hair-raising sequel to Giorgio’s The Home For Wayward Clocks, we finally learn the horrors Cooley (Amy Sue Dander) endured at the hands of her mother during a childhood of abuse and neglect.  As Cooley herself concludes, she knows one thing better than anyone else:  she can love her mother, but she can never forgive her. Deftly, Giorgio gives us the mother’s own twisted childhood as Cooley searches for reasons why a mother would so despise her own daughter.  In Learning To Tell (A Life)Time, we see the beauty in a spirit that cannot be crushed, and the amazing strength Cooley exhibits in pulling a life quite literally from the glowing embers of her past, a life that ultimately includes a husband, a home, children, and, above all, love.” ~ G. K. Wuori, author of Now That I’m Ready To Tell You Everything and the soon to be released Infidelity

“This novel tells of the heartbreak and healing of many lifetimes, not only of the resilient characters found within these pages, but of anyone who has loved and lost, and chosen to live and love again. It is a masterful, artful look at what it means to be human and the fissures that are ever present between any two people– the words unspoken and things left undone — and the way that love seems to always find a way to bridge them, regardless.”  ~ Erin Celello, author of Miracle Beach and Learning To Stay

From Tailwind Press:

“. . . Giorgio crafts a complex and compelling history, populated by a sprawling web of predators and victims that intersects one unfortunate family throughout time and space . . . The message and challenge of the book is clear: confront your past and its trauma, or it will consume you. . . . Kathie Giorgio’s book presets a powerful narrative, and she has crafted compelling characters in this story.  It is a laudable example of a high-quality work that hides in the dense forest of independent books, and we hope to hear more from her soon.” – Tailwind Press

Click here to read the full review on Tailwind Press

From the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:

“In Waukesha writer Kathie Giorgio’s new novel, “Learning to Tell (A Life) Time,” two girls are abused by older men, and their reactions to that abuse shape them as adults: Mara Rose Mayfield and her daughter, Amy Sue Dander, better known as Cooley.

But “like mother, like daughter” is not a cliché that applies here. What happened to both girls, and how they turned out, couldn’t be more different.

In an interview earlier this year, Giorgio claimed John Irving as one of her favorite writers. Like Irving, Giorgio mixes comedy and trauma in her storytelling, and also like the “World According to Garp” author, a strong sense of optimism and determination undergirds her work. Life, despite its difficulties and sorrows, is seen as fundamentally good.” – Click here to read the full article.

From Amazon:

“Kathie Giorgio is fascinating to read. Just when you think she’s gone deep into a subject, she goes deeper. The tale of Mara Rose will check your preconceived notions…at least, it did for me. And watching Cooley come into her own was as rewarding as anything I’ve ever read. Chilling and intense and beautifully written.” Five stars.

From GoodReads:

“As a survivor of mother and father-son abuse, I can tell you with certainty that she nailed the internal feelings of it. Is it my journey? No. It’s Cooley’s. Does it reflect exactly what I went through? No. It’s not supposed to. But the story is so well-told, so engaging, and so thought provoking, that I’m just blown away. My wife gave me the book and just said “read it.” I hadn’t heard of the author (though now I’m going to get her other books), but I decided to start it late one night just to see what I thought. I ended up spending the next day (luckily I didn’t have to work) reading. I couldn’t help it.

*POTENTIAL SPOILER, BUT NOT REALLY*
Cooley does not have the stereotypical happy “oh, Mommy, I so misunderstood you” ending to her story, as was implied in the last review. She says flat out she still hates her mother. If one reads the book as it is clearly meant to be read, Cooley doesn’t learn everything about her mother that the reader does. The reader, while feeling sympathy for the mom, won’t like her either. She made her choices. The cycle could have stopped. She made it worse. That’s what Cooley has to come to grips with and, in doing so, realize that she has the power to control her destiny.

I don’t cry often, but this book got me. Not because it made me relive my story, but because Cooley’s (and her mother’s) are so touching and so real. Incredible.”  Five stars.

 

YouTube video book trailer for Learning to Tell (A Life) Time:

Reviews of Kathie’s short stories in a variety of magazines and anthologies:
Kathie Giorgio

Kathie Giorgio

“And Kathie Giorgio brilliantly sums up the way in which a loved one’s death changes our perspective, not just on ourselves, but on size and color and the place in which we live.”  For “The Blue Room,” published in Pain and Memory: Reflections on the Strength of the Human Spirit in Suffering.  Review from Timothy Houlihan, Ph.D., Academic Dean, St. Francis College

“This issue’s first story, “Fat Girl Outside” by Kathie Giorgio, is about an obese woman working in the “Large and Luscious Women’s Apparel Store.” Giorgio uses phobias, image-consciousness and fragmented sentences like, “Underwear that could flap for surrender in the wind” to create a dreamy narrative. It makes the reader side with the fat girl, despise her and admire her all at the same time.”  For “The Fat Girl Outside,” published in the Dos Passos Review.  Review from Sheheryar B. Sheikh of NewPages.com.

“Of note, Kathie Giorgio’s “Ticking” is a masterful short story in each and every one of the ways noted above. Written in a close-up third person limited omniscient point of view, the action is compelling, the dialog never registers a false note, and the narrative grows increasingly disturbing even as it pulls a reader down the page to the ending which feels as inevitable as it does terrible.”  For “Ticking,” published in the Pedestal. Review from guest editor Chad Prevost.

Other reviews can be found by searching Kathie’s name on Google.

To request copies of Kathie’s Lake Effects radio interviews, contact WUWM.