Through the tapestry of these diverse stories, readers are invited to witness the transformative power of adversity. Whether it's a chilling encounter with the unknown or the poignant exploration of human connections, each story reveals the profound growth that can emerge from facing the unexpected. Jessica Barksdale Inclán masterfully weaves themes that resonate deeply with the human experience. This collection urges us to embrace the challenges that come our way and discover the hidden truths that lie within and to explore the complexities of difficult conversations often swept under the rug. Characters are forced to confront their vulnerabilities and issues head-on. In the process, they grapple with fears, doubts, and regrets, ultimately reconciling with the truths they uncover.
"Instant dreams drawing you in from their first (fresh, crisp) sentences, Jessica Barksdale Inclán's stories hold you: smart, wry, funny, tender, shocking. They sideswipe and seduce; their sparkling range startles and provokes. You may recognize many of their people and predicaments, warm and pulsingly real, wildly imagined yet utterly grounded. Shot through with wise compassion, Trick of the Porch Light casts a reverberant spell."
Joan Frank, author of Juniper Street and Late Work
"In this varied and perceptive collection, there are ominous stories finely calibrated in the collusion of the mundane and the menacing; there are stories of marriage and their emotional morasses which sometimes defy disentanglement; there are stories of everlasting loss and of temporary but seemingly unending disaffection that make us ache and yet hope; there are futuristic stories that remind us how very human we are no matter the technology intended to elevate us. They are all strikingly told by Jessica Barksdale Inclán with precision, subtlety, humor, and an instinct for the moment of reckoning."
Donna Miscolta, author of Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories
"The stories in Trick of the Porch Light are wonderful examples of what Joy Williams describes as fiction’s ability to “enchant while blowing up in a reader’s face.” Jessica Barksdale Inclán’s characters get themselves into thrilling trouble—by dating drug dealers, by passing out from hunger in an escape room, by having themselves frozen in cryogenic stasis, by taking in a sibling’s abandoned child—but the real explosions come as subtle revelations, when buried fears or desires unexpectedly surface. Gripping and inventive, sometimes haunting and often hilarious, and always gorgeously written, these are stories you’ll want to start reading again as soon as you’ve finished."
Scott Nadelson, author of While It Lasts
"Barksdale Inclán writes my favorite kinds of stories, ones with no-nonsense wisdom and cerebral potency. These tell-it-like-it-is yarns will make you smile."