Expense of a View, with Polly Buckingham


Join us to welcome Spokane author Polly Buckingham when she talks about her book of short stories, The Expense of a View, on Thursday, March 30, at 7pm. This book was the winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction in 2016.

The stories in The Expense of a View explore the psyches of characters under extreme duress. In the title story, a woman who has moved across the country in an attempt to leave her past behind dumps an empty suitcase into the Columbia River over and over again. In another story, a woman who wakes up mornings only to discover she's been shooting heroin in a night trance, meets her doppelganger on a rainy Oregon beach. Most of the characters are displaced and disturbed; they suffer from dissociative disorders, denial, and delusions. The settings--Florida, eastern Washington, Seattle, and the Oregon coast--mirror their lunacies. While refusing to look at what's right in front of themselves might destroy them, it's equally likely to be just what they need.

Chris Offutt, the final judge for the Katherine Anne Porter Award, writes, "The Expense of a View is a carefully rendered examination of memory, loss and sadness.  The emotional reality of the characters is riveting and stayed with me long after finishing each story. These are the people we see every day, strangers suffering, ones we are too busy to worry about, that we ignore.  The stories in The Expense of a View are reminders that everyone is important." 

Molly Giles writes, “Set mostly in the coastal waters off Florida and the Pacific Northwest, this book reads like a series of tales about castaways, people thrown to shore after devastating losses—a child’s death, a lover’s abandonment, a sister’s suicide. Ill-prepared and ill-equipped, the survivors struggle to accept that ‘sometimes there really is no one to blame, not even yourself’ as they begin to make peace with themselves and their strange new circumstances. These are tender, beautifully written stories, delicate and wise,"  

And, finally, this from Kirkus Reviews: "Though the circumstances here are often dismally bleak, at her best Buckingham offers glimmers of pale but definite hope."  


Polly Buckingham is the author of The Expense of a View (winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction from University of North Texas Press), and A Year of Silence (winner of the Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award for Fiction from Florida Review Press).  Polly was the recipient of a Washington State Artists Trust fellowship and of Hubbub's Kenneth O. Hanson Award for poetry.  Her work appears in The Gettysburg ReviewThe Threepenny ReviewThe Poetry ReviewHanging LooseWitnessNorth American ReviewThe MothNew Orleans Review, Poetry Daily and elsewhere. Polly is founding editor of StringTown Press. She teaches creative writing at Eastern Washington University and is Associate Director of Willow Springs Books.


Event date: 
Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
The Expense of a View (Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction #15) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781574416473
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of North Texas Press - November 7th, 2016