Games and Rituals by Katherine Heiny

“The gentle smile, the burning sting, the anticipation of the follow-up appointment—their first meeting was like the very essence of love. A distillation of love. No wonder they’d gotten married. A whirlwind courtship; they were walking down the aisle less than six months after their first date. Yet no friend or family member protested or raised a single doubt—it was clear they were meant to be together.”


In an impressive new collection, Katherine Heiny tackles stories with themes of life, love, aging, and desire. She captures a range of vibrant, humorous, and heartfelt human emotions. 

In “Bridesmaid, Revisited,” Marlee, suffering from a laundry and life crisis, wears a massive bridesmaid’s dress to work, while in “Twist and Shout,” we meet Erica’s father who mistakes his four-thousand-dollar hearing aid for a cashew and eats it. 

Then there’s “Games and Rituals” and “561,” two tales which stood out to me among the rest. 

These eleven stories are a reminder of the human condition, how we live, love, and how we grieve. Heiny captures, with tenderness, the beauty of everyday existence, in such an extraordinary way. 

Ultimately, she helps us to understand the function of our hearts and vastness of our minds, and what we are capable of.

Katherine Heiny by Lexey Swall

Katherine Heiny is the author of Early Morning Riser, Standard Deviation, and Single, Carefree, Mellow, and her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and many other magazines. She has lived in London, The Hague, and Boyne City, Michigan, and now lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and children.

Games and Rituals is available for pre-order, releasing April 18 in hardcover and audiobook format. Check IndieBound for a retailer near you.