Tongue Party

Sarah Rose Etter

Read a 26-page excerpt (PDF)

“Each small story is like sliding in skates over an ice pond—overhead beauty, victorious shouts, still soul, gigantic bravery.”

Deb Olin Unferth, author of Revolution

“Sarah Rose Etter’s Tongue Party is astonishing and unexpected and one of the finest books you will read this year. Her stories are beautiful and wildly imaginative and at times disturbing in dark, elegant ways. The women in her stories are strong and they are desperate, often in positions where they have to sacrifice far too much of themselves. And yet, through Sarah Rose’s masterful writing, these women become so much more. They become brave and defiant and like the stories themselves, absolutely unforgettable.”

Roxane Gay, author of Ayiti

Tongue Party is fiction for we who are hungry, for those among us who ache, who crave, who have appetites that cannot be sated, who have holes in their hearts that will not easily be healed. In each of these short tales, Sarah Rose Etter reminds us that it is not just what we are afraid to lose that will come to define us, but also the strange methods by which we cover over that loss, once it has come to pass. With fiercest compassion, a sharp wit, and unflinching prose, Etter delivers not only what it is that we are wanting but also the ways by which we need, by which we are always, all of us, needing.”

Matt Bell, author of How They Were Found

“I love Etter’s world of universal desires that drive each story into unexpected places, to koala tides and tongue parties. It’s a world bursting with the need to be both someone and no one, where characters are kept close but viewed from behind things, such as glass and chicken masks. Each word, each moment surprises. It’s a wondrous thing.”

Randall Brown, author of Mad to Live

“There are stories that show you the way things are, and ones that show you the way things might be, and then there are stories that tear you apart and build different things from the pieces. You might be happy with some of them, but I assure you, you won’t like them all. Sarah Rose Etter isn’t a writer; she’s a witch, and this is a house and storm of spells.”

Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

Tongue Party was the winning manuscript in the 2010 Caketrain Chapbook Competition, as judged by Deb Olin Unferth.

About the Author

Sarah Rose Etter earned her BA in English from Pennsylvania State University and her MFA in Fiction from Rosemont College. She currently lives in South Philadelphia. Her mother and father owned a boat once.


Cover art “Tongue” embroidered girdle © 2000 Jess Larson, photographed by Nic McPhee. Background texture by Randen Pederson. Used by permission. Grateful acknowledgment is made to the editors of the journals in which these stories first appeared: Bartleby-Snopes Literary Journal: “Koala Tide”; Kill Author: “Womb Peck”; Menda City Review: “Cake”; Pank: “Tongue Party”; Black Warrior Review: “Love Film”; The Collagist: “Men Under Glass”; Bearcreekfeed: “Chicken Father”; Elimae: “Cures”; Flatmancrooked: “Husband Feeder.” Text © 2011 Sarah Rose Etter.