Inspired by Victoria Kelly’s experiences as the wife of a fighter pilot during three wartime deployments, this collection follows women whose lives have been impacted by war and military service as they struggle with their fragile ideas of home.
In “Prayers of an American Wife,” a Navy wife grapples with loneliness when she discovers that her neighbor, also a Navy wife, is having an affair while their husbands are deployed on the same aircraft carrier. Tensions rise in “The Strangers of Dubai” as a soldier on leave tries to buy his wife a souvenir from an Afghan vendor. After attending eight funerals with fellow military wives whose husbands died in the Iraq war, the protagonist in “Finding the Good Light” divorces her Navy husband and tries to start a new life as a movie star. These, along with the eleven other stories in this collection, explore the emotional landscape of the resilient women who remain on the homefront.
Kelly’s stories offer readers an intimate, eye-opening look into the sacrifices and steadfastness of military family members.
Victoria Kelly is a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of Mrs. Houdini: A Novel, named a People Magazine Best New Book and a USA Today New and Noteworthy Book, and When the Men Go Off to War: Poems and Prayers of an American Wife. Kelly’s writing has appeared in Best American Poetry and dozens of national and international literary journals. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their five children.
“Kelly clearly channeled her own emotions, confusion, loneliness, sacrifice, and love into these stories illuminating the struggle of family members who may not be fighting wars on the battlefield but are keeping the home fires. . . . These themes provide richly resonant material for these well written short stories about the wartime experience told from the perspectives of those waiting patiently (and impatiently) at home. An engrossing collection grounded by the complex emotional dynamics between soldiers and their families.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Violence laps at the edges of the remarkable stories in Victoria Kelly’s new collection, Homefront. Characters are scarred by war, women disappear, men commit crimes both real and imaginary. But the more pressing dramas are the betrayals of lovers and family members, secrets kept and hope lost, and the regret of lives that should have been. Gorgeously written, nuanced, and timely, Homefront offers readers a perfect snapshot of American life in all its splendor and tragedy." –Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone
“If you’ve given up on the power of the short story, this book will change your mind for good. In Homefront, Kelly gives us characters tied together by a proximity to war, but it’s truly America’s story, in the hands of a master of the genre.” —Karin Tanabe, author of The Sunset Crowd
“In a market overwhelmed by male voices and perspectives, Homefront adds important diversity to the literary landscape and does so in a powerful way. Kelly’s writing is exceptional, the characters are interesting, the writing about military culture is convincing, and the storylines are thoughtful and well-paced. Every aspect of Homefront is authentic.” —Caleb Cage, U.S. Army veteran, author of Desert Mementos: Stories of Iraq and Nevada
“Victoria Kelly has penned gorgeous short stories in Homefront that encompass the deep nuances within families affiliated with the military. Written tenderly and respectfully, each thought-provoking story is a page-turner and a new experience, allowing me to take a breath and dive into the intricacies and important daily lives of her characters.” —Tif Marcelo, USA Today bestselling author of In a Book Club Far Away
"The stories that comprise Homefront wrestle with classic dilemmas of desire and regret, hope and loss, in new and often wrenching ways. In this superb, eminently readable collection, Victoria Kelly cements herself as one of our great chroniclers of the war and peaces found in contemporary American life." —Matt Gallagher, author of Daybreak and Youngblood
“Victoria Kelly leverages her skills as a writer with her own experiences as a fighter pilot’s spouse to capture military life from fourteen unique and engaging perspectives. HOMEFRONT is beautiful, heartbreaking, and unflinchingly honest.” – Ward Carroll, author of Punk's War, YouTuber, and retired naval aviator