“After [my first story] was published, this guy IM’d me to say he liked what I’d written. He said it reminded him of Animal Farm, and I sent a noncommittal reply. In all honesty, I had no idea what to say because my immediate reaction had been, ‘My story is nothing like that John Belushi movie.’

I was fifteen years old.”

“10 Questions for Carissa Halston” – The Massachusetts Review

“Reading informs everything I write. When I read something that remakes me as a reader—the sort of story that divides your life into before and after you read it—then I’m in student mode, trying to figure out how I can learn from the success of that narrative.”

Notes on “Call It a Map” – Willow Springs

“I know it’s strange for a prose writer to talk about meter or cadence, but there’s a rhythm to prose that I chase after—though sometimes it finds me. I occasionally edit it out, but I often leave it in.”

Craft Essay on “Hacking and Packing” – Fourteen Hills

“I didn’t really love reading until ninth grade. I didn’t really admire writing until tenth grade. I didn’t start ‘seriously’ writing until I was eighteen. And I didn’t go to college until I was twenty-six. I sold books for five years and read anything that sounded interesting, but had no discernible name for what I was doing until I went to college and was lucky enough to have a professor tell me about what she termed, “strange texts,” which asked of the reader so much more than the suspension of disbelief, most notably, patience, endurance, and trust—patience when you’re not sure where a story’s going or even what’s happening, endurance to hang in when something odd is going on, trust that the author knows what they’re doing, and is rendering the narrative according to that knowledge, which (believe it or not) is actually reciprocal because we, as writers, believe that you, dear readers, exist long before we meet you.”

Ten Calls to Literary Arms – Little Fiction

“When I was younger, I was more influenced by theatre and you could see it in the physical layout of my work. I would edit with an eye for a visual collective breath, so to speak, usually by way of a line break that would set off a single sentence paragraph, which I liked because I felt they gave the impression of the end of a monologue. Now that I’m older (and have read more), I’m more influenced by prose, so I’m editing to emphasize lyricism or metaphor instead of visual cohesion (though, really, both choices are about voice).”

“On Revision” – Necessary Fiction



For Emergency Exit

“Brutally funny… Emergency Exit unfolds in the disjointed chronology of the perpetually jet-lagged, skipping back and forth over months as easily as airplanes cross time-zones. In the slight surreality of this enclosed world, Halston’s stewardesses reveal themselves as dark, complicated, fully realized human beings, capable of rage, apathy, humor, compassion, efficiency, and even, perhaps, friendship (however messy, unconventional, and Cosmo-free it might be).”

— Emily Wojcik, from her introduction to Emergency Exit


For The Mere Weight of Words

“This is a novella in Technicolor and HD and 3D all at once. It has a Cubist blending of past and present that reflects the true movements of the mind and the leaps between the different phases are done in such a way that Virginia Woolf cannot be excluded from Halston’s influences.”

— Jessica Maybury at The Rumpus

“It’s clear that Halston has a way with words, and she has no doubt earned the devotion of a new set of readers with this volume.”

— Karen Seehaus Papson at NewPages

“Halston deliberately gives her readers a work that is sharp and complex with beautiful linguistic details that are complemented by narrative moments of heartbreak and sorrow.”

— Jaime Groetsema, “Mere but Mighty” at Newfound

“With smart, inventive wordplay, Halston explores the veracity of language, and, ultimately, of love. More, please, Carissa Halston.”

— Marc Schuster, “Summer Shorts – 10 Novellas Perfect for Literary Lounging” at Shelf Unbound & Flavorwire

“[A] potent exploration of the cerebral. ”

— Lauren Oyler, “The ultimate novellas” at Dazed and Confused

“Carissa Halston’s deeply felt tale of fathers and daughters brings us up against the limits of language. As her glamorous film-director father slowly recedes into Alzheimers, Meredith tries again to reconnect with him. At the same time she considers the effects of his legacy on her own relationships. Halston’s tough-minded tenderness is sharp-tongued and subtle and the svelte vigor of her prose is sure to move her readers to countless moments of recognition and ahas.”

— Askold Melnyczuk, author of What is Told, Ambassador of the Dead, and The House of Widows

The Mere Weight of Words is a sharp, smart novella about the difficulty of reinventing a career, a relationship, a family, a life. Read this book for its elegant, intelligent language, and its insights that aren’t always comforting, but are always true.”

— Karl Iagnemma, author of On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction and The Expeditions

The Mere Weight of Words paints a moving, insightful portrait of a difficult relationship between a father and daughter. It sheds light on what it means to be a child, even in adulthood, and tellingly reveals the vulnerabilities of its guarded protagonist. It also happens to be as funny as it is profound.”

— John Fulton, author of The Animal Girl


For A Girl Named Charlie Lester (self-published novel)

“The air of the book is sweet but not saccharine, emotionally generous, allowing Charlie to be uncompromising and independent and then tyrannized by her love life, idiosyncratic in her brainy verve…. A lovely piece of female confessional.

Kirkus Reviews

“Strong female bonds, witty realistic dialogue and an acute sense of what it’s like to be young today make A Girl Named Charlie Lester a great read.”

Curve Magazine, Aug/Sept 2009

A Girl Named Charlie Lester is Reality Bites without the cheesy romantic ending or a soulful Ethan Hawke gazing into the camera…. What [Halston] gets right in great detail is the camaraderie among young part-timers at motley bars and large entertainment chains….they have each other to guide them through their voyage of self-discovery.”

— Ellen Wernecke at EDGE Media

“Charlie’s journey will make middle-class parents blanch, but will be totally familiar to those of her generation. She is thrust into a world is characterized by casual cruelties and sexual exploitation, where naiveté and economic desperation can force denigrating choices on people for no better reason than their own vulnerability.”

— Sarah Boslaugh at PLAYBACK:stl