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Black Tickets marks the debut of a brilliant, prize-winning short-story writer whom Tillie Olsen has called “unparalled in her generation.” Among the stories that established Jayne Anne Phillips’s literary reputation are:

A mass murderer traces the growth of his own obsession in a litany about alienation and violence in America.

A mother and daughter discuss sexuality in a landscape of emotional loss.

A fourteen-year-old girl leaves a succession of foster homes for the black and compelling world of two drug addicts.

Black Tickets
A man relives, from a jail cell, his burning need for the woman who usurped him.

The Heavenly Animal
A young woman confronts her divorced parents, the inarticulate tenderness of her father, and her own desperation.

El Paso
Two drifters encounter a young Mexican girl in the bars and hot streets of a Texas border town circa 1960.


“Hers is an authentic and original voice. . . . Black Tickets is a just cause for celebration.”

“Jayne Anne Phillips’ writing hangs together, like the monologue of a rapt seer, random bits of the world fused together in the self-willed power of her vision.”
Sun-Times (Chicago)

“She knows how to . . . write the way dreams live with us. . . . Genius is the word for her.”
The Boston Globe

“Jayne Anne Phillips explores mercilessly the human condition. Attempting material few other writers have dared. Even fewer have succeeded as she does in conveying the raw emotional content of their themes while . . . transforming it with a poet’s vision.”
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

“These are wonderful stories. Jayne Anne Phillips displays energy, artistic poise, and electric talent.”
–Tim O’Brien

“Phillips wonderfully catches the tones and gestures in which familial love unexpectedly persists even after altered circumstances have made it impossible to express directly, and the ways in which gown children, while cherishing even an unrewarding freedom, can be caught and hurt and consoled by their vestigial yearning for dependence, safety, a human closeness that usually seems forever lost.”
The New York Review of Books

“The unmistakable work of early genius trying her range, a dazzling virtuoso range, that is distinctly her own. Jayne Anne Phillips is ‘the real thing.’”
Tillie Olsen

“Her writing butns at white heat, deriving intensity from the most everyday situations as easily and experly as from glaring exotica. . . . She makes even the most public acts intimate.”
Atlanta Constitution

“A virtuoso collection . . . It is through the eyes of those who have regained, or not yet lost, their clarity and rawness—children, the disaffected young, the old, those on the wrong side of society or the law—that she best expresses her own intense, anarchic vision. She has the power to bring us to the quick of physical sensation. She can write both with supreme simplicity and with metaphorical bravura.”
Times Literary Supplement

“Jayne Anne Phillips is—quite simply—the best new writer I’ve read in years. She sees through the ordinary
to its mysterious heart, and she speaks of it in extraordinary ways.”
–Rosellen Brown