Listen to an interview on the podcast New Books in Psychology with Polly Buckingham, author of The Expense of a View.
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.
“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.” —Chris Offutt, Author of My Father, the Pornographer and Final Judge
“Her short fiction is brutal, beautiful, and imbued with the thrilling tension of connection and isolation.” —Sharma Shields, author of The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac