short stories by
196 pages. Cover price: $12.95
($10 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)
Somewhere in Milwaukee, there is a mall with a specialty boutique called Large & Luscious. The women who work there, while of different ages and backgrounds and hair color and heritage, all carry the same name: The Fat Girl. They are as society sees them. And they are as they see themselves.
This collection of linked short stories takes the reader through cancer and sex, motherhood and death, rejection and acceptance. There are Fat Girls at the state fair, Fat Girls in Starbucks, and Fat Girls in bars, in bed, and alone.
All of the Fat Girls are seekers. The anonymity of their name and the barrier of their bodies lead some into discovering their own abundance. Others sink further into struggle. All readers, regardless of size, will learn that there is so much more to a Fat Girl than her weight. We are all so much more than our bodies.
Kathie Giorgio’s first novel, The Home For Wayward Clocks, was released in February of 2011. Her short stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, and her poetry and creative nonfiction have been published as well. Kathie’s everyday revolves around writing, from her own desk and her own work, to teaching and guiding writers of all abilities and genres at her studio, AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop, to discussions with her husband, writer Michael Giorgio. Kathie maintains and embodies a solid faith in the written word, in its ability to change lives and the world for the better.
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.
author of The Life Before Her Eyes
and In a Perfect World
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.
author of We Can Still Be Friends
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
author of The Alice Stories
An excerpt from:
FROM GRAVITY, WE ARE FREE
The Fat Girl Proclamation
We walk as land, as a solid, living earthquake. All of us Fat Girls. We roil and we undulate and we steam. If you look close, you see mountains. If you look closer, you see volcanoes of smolder and depth and flame.
There is an extra layer of Woman upon us. Woman, at all of her best. Sensuality is skin upon skin and we are everlasting skin upon skin. Neck to breasts to stomach to thighs, calves, ankles…everywhere, skin touching, moving, constant exorbitant embrace. We are an ocean, rolling ceaselessly over ourselves, rolling ceaselessly over you.
We are inch upon inch, foot upon foot of high-tempered nerve-endings, hypersensitive, mega-aware. Every touch is magnified. Every touch we give is fully loaded.
And we are everywhere. You see us sitting on a subway or a park bench, or walking slowly down the street, appearing to sink into the ground with every step. You see us as sad, as having one foot, one knee, one thigh in the grave. Our bodies our coffin. For some of us, that’s true. If a Fat Girl is still shrinking from human reprimand, if she is still shying away from her own depths, then she is sad. How hard to be so large and feel so small at the same time! How could such richness be worthless? Why should we want to be shallow? Sheer excess makes us alive and life-seeking and free. We dive into ourselves and then rejoice out, making thin air thick with life and soul and spirit. We are not sinking. We are savoring. There is an extra layer of Woman upon us.
We know how to relish, and we do. We enjoy all that is offered and earthy and real. We feel every motion through our bodies, and those motions are delicious. The earth is at our feet and the sky is above our heads, and the ocean beats our hearts enlarged. From gravity, we are free.
When we are accompanied, we are with those who appreciate us. They understand that the heft of our breasts, each lifted and celebrated in two hands, comes from more than hunger. It comes from desire, the desire to know it all, to feel it all, to embrace and take in and expand. It comes from joy.
Have you heard us sing? Have you heard the full voices that swoop out of full bodies, that climb scales, fall back, and soar again, through stanzas and staffs and serenades? Voices that flood a room, stream over your shoulders, overflow your pores. The voice of Woman. The voice of pure joy. Satisfaction.
We have an extra layer of Woman upon us.
Fat Girls recognize each other from across the room. We recognize each other from across the continent. We pass each other and we nod and we know. Our smiles are for us alone.
Can you imagine us all together? Arm in arm, flesh to flesh, under a moon that is one glorious curve. One full circle, a reflection of all that is light and dark and grounded and floating. The moon calls us out, with the chill of the air, and we meet amid songs and exhibition. Our skin glows silver, our hair flows free, and there is a path to the sky and to us. A connection of skin and silk and silver and curves and glory and larger than life. On earth, we are the moon. And in the sky, the moon is us. Round and fulfilled.
From gravity, we are free.
Moon-soaked, we raise our faces and we sing. All those voices soar from all those bodies, rustle trees, wave ocean, spark sky. Round faces atop round bodies, round mouths inundating melody, harmony, round hands slapping round knees in rhythm. All of us rejoicing. We are Rejoice.
We are alive. Everything in us is bounty and burgeon. We are full, we are large, we are lovely. When you look at us, you should never see death. Never a foot in a grave, never a body as a coffin. Just life, life in curve upon curve, in mountain cresting mountain, life in our touch, our song, our connection to the earth and the sea and the moon.
We are the Fat Girls. We have an extra layer of Woman upon us. We are Woman. And from gravity, we are free.
If you would like to read the rest of “From Gravity We Are Free” or the rest of the stories in Enlarged Heart, order today.