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Category: Light without Heat

Recent Praise for The Exiles and Light without Heat

For The Exiles:

“…Kirkpatrick does not expect the myths to carry the weight of the book, and each of the characters in this slim volume have depths beneath their surface, human behaviors and humor. They bend and distort their stories, slipping the noose of their expected endings. Each section is a different story, and a different point of view: the boy hero, the princess in the tower, the sister in the woods. Depending on the perspective, even the worst tragedy and horror can be relegated to a subplot, even to invisibility. Kirkpatrick puts pressure on the stories we think we know, troubling them, leaving behind only the uncanny sense that no one is who they say they are.” Lauren Perez in The Collagist

“Read it. I promise, you will be unsettled and moved to piece the oddities and mysteries together. You will be haunted. And you may be uneasily appeased.” Tina Cabrera at HTMLGiant

For Light without Heat

“Kirkpatrick has a profound way of exploring real world circumstances and locating them, through his writing, in the atmosphere above where our dreams are and in the minerals below that house our nightmares; emptied towns, the horror of lost children, the fear of leaving a company or position or recognizing the false belief in that job or company– all of these spheres that we exist in everyday, Kirkpatrick handles with empathy, whimsy, charm, sorrow, and anxiety. While these stories vary stylistically, they consistently hone in on a certain mundanity found just outside the frenetic fringes of the country’s metropolises; instead of playing into it, he plays with it.”  William Lazarus Wacker in Drunken Boat

“Reading Matthew Kirkpatrick’s Light Without Heat is like getting sucked into a phonographic mishmash of scrambled linearity, a sometimes dizzy place where the reliability of science and the unreasonable nostalgia provoked by photographs and memories collide. His narrative structures lean toward the unfamiliar, though not so far as to take us into chaos. Rather, the stories in this debut collection mirror the search for selfhood and stability of the Big Bang: Where are my rivers? Where are my mountains, my oceans? Where are the people to bear witness to my pain?” John Oliver Hodges in American Book Review

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Light without Heat reviewed at the Collagist

“While Light Without Heat delights in the high-concept story and does not hesitate to challenge the reader intellectually, Kirkpatrick doesn’t lose sight of the thinker thinking the thought, the rememberer remembering. These are moving stories, as funny as they are sad, as full of death as they are of love.”

Joe Aguilar at the Collagist

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Review of Light without Heat at The Oxford American

“The nineteen stories in Matthew Kirkpatrick’s Light Without Heat are disorienting. They employ a series of devices—photographs, diagrams, side-by-side points of view, multiple nameless characters, big blocks of unattributed dialogue, and pleasingly unusual plots—to either defamiliarize the reader by making the familiar strange, or jar the reader, often into laughter, by making the strange familiar.”

Johannes Lichtman at The Oxford American

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A review of Light without Heat

“It’s difficult to speak in absolutes or generalities about a writer or collection so versatile and adventurous. This isn’t to say the pieces are listless or incompatible; Kirkpatrick simply refuses — and good for him — to ignore any corners of his palette.”

James Tate Hill at

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Review of Light without Heat at HTMLGiant

Here’s a review of Light without Heat at HTMLGiant…

“Kirkpatrick can clearly pen a story that rivals the most anthologized of our short story writers, but also in his collection are heretofore unimaginable forms, stories that mirror the moment when you arrive late to a Surrealist tea party, and you’re not entirely sure which parlor game is being played. Ecstatic linguistic pyrotechnics, multi-dimensional constellations: a character sketch written as a diagram of the pineal gland, erasures that leave the text cratered, an impossible encyclopedia, ‘basements with or without dens.'”

Tasha Matsumoto at

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A Review of Light without Heat

“Light without Heat is, at once, a collection that is relentlessly engaged with the possibilities of form and language, while also deeply invested in matters of universal importance: of love, of purpose, of life, of death. As such, even those readers who are not typically interested in innovative and experimental fiction will likely find much of interest in Mr. Kirkpatrick’s marvelous debut.”

Robert Kloss reviewed Light without Heat at Necessary Fiction!

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