Debra Spark,


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  • Finalist, Maine Literary Awards, 2013
  • Honorable Mention,  New England Book Festival Prize, General Fiction, 2012
Behind the Book

The Pretty Girl: Novella and Stories

NY: Four Way Books, 2012

From Victorian toy theatres to a painting with a mysterious story behind it to a graphic novelist’s battle with the schizophrenia that causes her cartoon characters to march off the page, the novella and six stories in Debra Spark’s The Pretty Girl revolve around artists, artistry, and the magical—sometimes malicious—deceptions they create. With settings that traverse New York’s Lower East Side, Victorian London, Paris, and Switzerland, Spark’s stories twist and turn in mesmerizing ways as they reflect on the fictions we fabricate about and for friends, family, and strangers. Readers who love magical realism, illusions, Jewish literature, and art will be captivated by Spark’s wonderfully textured The Pretty Girl.


The Pretty Girl ends exactly as it should (a rare feat), and yet I hated for the novella to be over. Spark is a writer both to admire and to enjoy. Among the pleasures: her sly wit, her deep affection for her characters, her mastery for dialogue, her curiosity about the world, her sheer invention, and the way she seems to effortlessly thread the strands of her stories together. This collection is wonderful company.”
—Jane Hamilton

“Reading this book, I felt the world I live in melt away. Each story is so different from the next, each character a little code to be cracked, each time period and geographical location completely convincing, each life thoroughly absorbing. A strange, illuminating, and compelling book. Like falling into a cloud.”
—Monica Wood

“Spark’s imaginative collection of stories offers quirky surprises at every turn, as ordinary characters transcend their mundane lives. The numerous shifting realities and transformations in these stories might devolve in the hands of a lesser writer, but Spark’s controlled craft keeps the narrative tight and the pages turning.”
—Publishers Weekly