A Man with Eight Pairs of Legs is about the ways our bodies are marked by memory, often literally, and the risky decisions we make when pushed to the extreme. Winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, this collection of short stories is a study in compassion and in passion, a must-read for our times.
“Smack in the middle of our chic contemporary postmodern fog, Leslie Kirk Campbell commits the greatest sin possible: she refuses to place intellect over emotion. In doing so she seeks depth instead of dazzle, sentiment in place of cynicism. Without sacrificing the intelligence and writerly skills it takes to do justice to her compelling material, time and again Campbell leads us out of the murk of mere 'innovation,'—the fetish of the 'new,'—and into the light of true feeling. As a result, these stories owned me, body and soul. This is the sort of fiction I look for to take me into the long night.”—Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
“History and memory crosscut through The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs in a gorgeous weave. These are marvelous, stirring stories, sometimes sexy, sometimes harrowing, somehow both timeless and timely. Campbell writes with great depth, patience, wisdom, and beauty.” —Anthony Doerr, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for All the Light We Cannot See
"The Man With Eight Pairs of Legs, Leslie Kirk Campbell’s prize-winning debut collection of nine stories, is distinguished by the range and diversity of the stories. The seemingly effortless invention of compelling characters entangled in unpredictable situations lends this book a vibrancy and vitality that’s at once sophisticated and utterly natural. And though this is a collection of individual stories, there’s an underlining drive of an intense single voice that gives this book a memorable force."—Stuart Dybek, MacArthur Fellow and author of Paper Lantern: Love Stories
“Leslie Kirk Campbell’s stories feature protagonists whose wisdom and wit and tenderness and patience and openness to existence cannot save them from trauma or anxiety or longing or the manic duplicities of love. These stories are masterful on the impossibility of negotiating implacably contradicting desires, and on the indivisibility of the personal and the political, as insightful on Thailand’s transition from military to civilian rule as they are on the most intimate negotiations between lovers. The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs is a superbly accomplished and assured debut.”—Jim Shepard, author of The World to Come and Phase Six
Leslie Kirk Campbell's short fiction has appeared in Ploughshares Solos and won awards at Arts & Letters, Southern Indiana Review, Briar Cliff Review and The Thomas Wolfe Review. The author of Journey into Motherhood (Riverhead), Leslie is the mother of two grown sons and teaches at Ripe Fruit Writing, a creative writing program she founded in San Francisco.