In Envy Country

IN ENVY COUNTRY’s nine stories have appeared previously in distinguished literary reviews. “A Thing That Happens” won the Emrys Fiction Award. “Rearview” was a finalist for the GSU Review Fiction Award. “Betting on Men,” which first appeared in the Antioch Review, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

These stories examine the predicaments of men and women in and out of love and marriage, at varying ages and stages of contemporary American life, from the 60s to the present. Set in Paris, California, and Spain, they investigate the small, complex truths that gain clarity with time and distance.

“In In Envy Country, Joan Frank shows us ourselves: the way we dress and eat, the places we inhabit, the relationships we forge, squander, hang onto. More, she shows us the dark underpinnings of these solaces and daily strivings, the times we lose what is best in us, or recall it, or realize we never valued it fully enough when we had the chance. Meticulously observed, with sentences that will make you stop and go back for another look.” — Ehud Havazelet, author of Bearing the Body and Like Never Before

“These stories each have a wonderful, intimate feel, as though the narrator is whispering in our ear at the start of each one, ‘You won’t believe what I heard.’ Written with authority and intelligence, they are layered and subtle, and we believe them all, gaining a new appreciation for the idea that what appears to be one thing—is many others. They are serious, and yet take us back to the sense of discovery; reading them is fun.” — Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge and Abide with Me

“Admirers of the work of Anita Brookner will rejoice to discover an American literary cousin. Nothing escapes Joan Frank; her stories of not-so-innocent bystanders gleam with subtlety, intelligence, and sly wit.” — Brian Morton, author of Breakable You and Starting Out in the Evening

“A worldly collection in all the best ways; a writer of unusual wit, sophistication and psychological insight; reading these pages is a pleasure.” — Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street

Selected Works

"Joan Frank has gifted us with two unforgettable characters in a novel filled to bursting with hard truths and shimmering beauty."
—Bob Wake, Cambridge Book Review

"Joan Frank is a human insight machine."
—Carolyn Cooke

"I will be quoting her ‘rules for aging’ at many dinner parties!"
—Natalie Serber

">"Published by a small press, this wonderful novel about two mismatched middle-aged friends challenging each other to grow deserves big attention."

"Deeply perceptive...Quite wonderful."
"Wisdom deeply honed; beautifully crafted."
— Noelle Oxenhandler

"Writer-blues, writer-opera, writer-jazz." — David Huddle
"Nothing less than astonishing."
– Matthew Iribarne

"A stylistic tour de force."
Cambridge Book Review
"Perceptive, funny, and wise."
The Boston Globe
"Astute, shrewd and, yes, frank. Surprising and rewarding."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Recalls Carson McCullers."
Trudy Lewis
"Exquisitely beautiful."
Rosa Shand
“What a pleasure to be in the witty, sophisticated world of Joan Frank’s fiction.”
Margot Livesey