Reviews and Press
San Francisco Chronicle review of Watchlist
"In Katherine Karlin’s 'Sleeping Where Jean Seberg Slept,' a longtime resident of San Francisco returns to her Iowa hometown and finds it transformed by migrant workers and agricultural technology. The way in which Karlin connects her protagonist’s predicament with the tragic film star proves unexpectedly apt."
Heavy Feather Review review of Watchlist
"Another story that tackles surveillance in a more subtle way is 'Sleeping Where Jean Seberg Slept,' by Katherine Karlin, in which an Iowan who has been living in San Francisco returns to her hometown to write a biography of the titular actress. This story highlights the sometimes comforting, sometimes insidious nature of the close-knit small town."
“As the title suggests, Karlin’s debut story collection focuses on men and women in the everyday world of work, from a loan officer–turned–fish tank cleaner to oil refinery workers and a New Orleans shipyard welder. The author’s own job experiences in offices and blue-collar trades supply the narratives with detail and the characterizations with authenticity.”
“Karlin's Send Me Work is an understated, beautifully written book about the experiences of women of various ages and ethnicities and temperaments, living in various times and places, working various jobs. Read it.”
“In the end, you leave this short story collection with respect for Karlin and the plucky individuals with whom she peoples her tales. Their courage gives you courage.”
The Wichita Eagle
“Karlin’s tight writing is perfectly suited to her character studies. . . And we see that not only do people shape their work, but their work shapes them, in ways that reach far beyond the time clock.”
“At the core, the stories in Send Me Work are about discovery, and there is a lot of truth and wisdom in Karlin’s well-formed prose. There are times where the reader will nod in agreement.”
“At her best, Karlin has a perfectly attuned ear for dialogue, and an ability to sketch characters through pithy details, scattered gently throughout . . . Karlin's language is sensual without being sumptuous, economical without being sparse.”
Publishers Weekly on SEND ME WORK (starred review)
“These stories are a miracle of pacing, hitting the short story sweet spot time and again and ending exactly when they should. For her unusual focus and light but penetrative approach to this subject matter, Karlin deserves serious attention.”
Anis Shivani of Huffington Post lists SEND ME WORK as one of the "20 Best Books From Independent Presses You Should Know About."
Texas Observer on "Muscle Memory"
“New Stories from the South opens with a chorus of youthful voices, the strongest of which is an 18-year-old named Destiny, who appears in Katherine Karlin’s ‘Muscle Memory.’ ‘If Destiny had three wishes to make, the third would be that she could learn to weld,’ the story begins.”
Ruelle Electrique on "Underwater"
“The little details splattered throughout that come and go but whose imprints linger, won me over. (For example, Jeunessa’s odd jawbone swipe; Nan’s main competitor, the Cirque du Soleil peddler; Mr. Posada’s oddly-decorated house; Aram’s dubious pill for Nan’s headache. And also Nan’s constantly coming up short of an actual Gyllenhaal encounter).”
Publishers Weekly on Bye-Bye, Larry
“Standouts center on identity and include Dina Ben-Lev’s memory of anti-Semitic pig farmers in Quebec; Mary Karr’s confession of her unlikely conversion to Catholicism; and Katherine Karlin’s story about a lesbian oil worker trying to be one of the boys in a Delaware Valley refinery.”
Chapter 16 on Muscle Memory
“The more contemporary, hard-edged ‘Muscle Memory’ by Katherine Karlin, set in post-Katrina New Orleans, is deeply rooted in the history and spirit of the city. It is a story of New Orleans—truly regional fiction in the best sense.”
Benjamin Rosenbaum on Muscle Memory
“So I've subscribed to One Story, which has a clever conceit, and, so far, pretty good stories. The one that arrived in my mailbox the other day, Muscle Memory by one Katherine Karlin, is the best so far: understated, deft and subtle, unpredictable, resisting easy moves, ambiguous; achieving an effect whereby at the end you realize it has snuck into your gut, snuck its characters’ grief and restlessness and sorrow and ambition into your own limbic system, and you never saw it coming.”
ShortStoryReader on Send Me Work
“A good story puts all the elements together—character, language, setting, plot. But plots—new ones at least—are hard to come by. Sometimes, a story might be an old one, but it becomes fresh because of its singularity in regard to the first three. And that’s the case here. Harriet and Izzy, the subjects of this story, come across as people we know quite a bit about by the end—and as people we sort of like. We also get to hang around New York, and we get to listen in on great lines like ‘The sky was a slate-colored ribbon over the avenue.’”