“Reading A Heaven of Their Choosing is like touring a set of rooms inside the enormous house of fiction. At the center of each sits a character, often isolated and regretful, whose interior is revealed with a candor and dead-pan irony reminiscent of the stories of John McGahern and even Joyce.” Billy Collins Poet Laureate 2001-2003
Kirkus Reviews calls A Heaven of Their Choosing, “stirringly emotional storytelling,” and “an expert collection by a deeply perceptive writer.”
Heavy Feather Review calls A Heaven of Their Choosing, “elegant” and “the indelible connection of past and present in her work—the undercurrents of memory and emotion—also bring to mind E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and Edith Wharton.”
“A Heaven of Their Choosing is Joann Smith’s first collection of short stories. Smith examines the female existence with the acuity of Margaret Atwood or Alice Munro, exploring the complexities of womanhood with exquisite subtlety. The thirteen superbly wrought stories explore faith, illness, grief and love with exacting precision. Smith is a master of chronology. Her narratives seamlessly intertwine the past and present, giving the stories a sense of universality and permanence.”
Sophia Khan is the author of Dear Yasmeen (Periscope Books, 2016) and The Flight of the Arconaut (Westland Books, 2020).