O Street

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O Street
First edition cover
Author Corrina Wycoff
Cover artist Robin Hann (photo)
Melissa C. Lucar (cover design)
Country United States
Language English
Genre Short stories
Published 2007 (OV Books/University of Illinois Press)
Media type Print (paperback)
Pages 145
ISBN 0-9767177-2-7

O Street is a 2007 short story collection written by Corrina Wycoff. It is the second book published by OV Books, and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Debut Fiction in 2007.[1]


The book's title was initially announced as The Wrong Place in the World,[2] the title of the first story. O Street is also the title of a story in the collection.

Three of the stories have been published previously: "Afterbirth" (in New Letters),[3][4] "The Shell Game" (in Coal City Review),[5] and "O Street" (in Other Voices magazine).[6] "Afterbirth" and "Visiting Mrs. Ferullo" won the second annual Heartland Short Fiction Prize in 1999.[3] "Afterbirth" was also excerpted in Oregon Quarterly in Spring 2007 in conjunction with the book's release.[7]


The ten stories collected in O Street revolve around the life of young professional Elizabeth Dinard, who has escaped an impoverished and abusive childhood in New Jersey but still suffers its effects in adulthood. Each story, told from the perspective of Elizabeth herself or one of the people around her, explores a different period of her troubled life.


"The Wrong Place in the World"

"September 1981"

"Visiting Mrs. Ferullo"

"Where We're Going This Time"

"O Street"



"The Shell Game"

"The Cat"

"Read Me Through the Bardo, Won't You?"


Wycoff works over an idée fixe in her debut collection, 10 stories about a young woman's difficult transition to adulthood after an abusive childhood. Most of the stories catch fragile protagonist Beth at a precarious moment in her unlucky life: from the fatherless childhood spent in Jersey City tenements and ramshackle motels ("Where We're Going This Time") to graduating from high school and fleeing at 17 to Chicago. She returns five years later, in "The Wrong Place in the World," upon receiving (bogus, she later learns) news of her mother's terminal illness. Beth is poised in each story for monstrous disappointment orchestrated by her manipulative and mentally ill mother, Angela, who blames Beth for ruining her life. "September 1981" chronicles Angela's downward trajectory, and the eerily parallel "Afterbirth" delineates Beth's own struggle with single motherhood after having gotten pregnant while prostituting herself at a Days Inn. Other stories develop Beth's failed lesbian relationships, and the title story exposes Beth's damage: a gang rape as a teenager at the hands of her mother's stoned boyfriends. Over and over these degradations and disappointments are sounded like elements in therapy, and the result is a straightforward look at pain and renewal. — Publishers Weekly [8]

O Street makes you think of great writers in strange combinations: Dreiser and Welty; Wright and McCullers; Joan Didion and Stephen Crane. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen naturalism this honest, accurate and unapologetic ... None of this "emerging writer" stuff — this writer is here. — David Bradley, author of The Chaneysville Incident[9]

A deeply moving, deftly told, and keenly insightful tale of a daughter's love, by turns helpless and heroic, for a mother who has forgotten how to love. — Alex Shakar, author of The Savage Girl [10]

In O Street, Corrina Wycoff paints a harrowing portrait of familial pain, mental illness, and the sometimes cruel tenacity of love. Hers is a world, undone, through which mothers and daughters falter and fall, yet Wycoff never lets us forget the redemptive power these women hold for each other. — Aimee Liu, author of Cloud Mountain and Flash House[9]

When love and anger live together in a bottomless hole, the only way to escape one is to also give up the other. Stripped of sentimentality and sanguinity, Corrina Wycoff ’s O Street is a relentless stare into the dark yawn of brutality. From her birth through early adulthood, Elizabeth Dinard follows her mentally-ill mother into the dark extremities of an at-best confusing, often tortured, always indissoluable relationship. This is White Oleander blown into A Million Little Pieces. — Cris Mazza, author of Disability and Many Ways To Get It, Many Ways To Say It[9]


  1. ^ Gonzalez, Antonio (April 30, 2007). "20th Annual Lambda Literary Awards: Recipients and Finalists". LambdaLiterary.org. Retrieved October 10, 2010. 
  2. ^ Frangello, Gina (March 23, 2006). "Other Voices Blog". GinaFrangello.blogs.com. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "1999 Award winners: New Letters Heartland Short Fiction Prize". Poets & Writers. March 1999. Archived from the original on June 21, 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ Wycoff, Corrina (1999). "Afterbirth". New Letters 65 (2): 139. Archived from the original on July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ Wycoff, Corrina (2006). "The Shell Game". Coal City Review 21. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ Wycoff, Corrina (2006). "O Street". Other Voices 45. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ Wycoff, Corrina (2007). "Labor and Management". Oregon Quarterly 86 (3): 15–16. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ "O Street: Stories". Publishers Weekly. January 8, 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c "O Street by Corrina Wycoff". OV Books. 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ "O Street Editorial reviews". Amazon.com. 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 

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