Fiction. California Interest. "At the last dusty town in a line of dusty towns," Clementine's story begins. In OH MY DARLING, Cate O'Toole has constructed a winding narrative with many pathways, each road following the fifteen year-old miner's daughter, immortalized in the American folk canon by her namesake ballad, through a journey laced with triumph and ruin at every turn. As Clementine navigates the perils and risks of the old West—from her father's land claim in the California goldfields to a San Francisco boarding house to the promise of the mountains, the plains, the river—you decide where the story will go. With O'Toole's sharp, clever prose as your guide, your decisions steer Clementine's fate. Gone but not forgotten, Clementine shines at the narrative's core, fighting for her future, aching to be more than "a tangle of bones, a handful of dust scattered by the wind."
"What wondrous and magical stories Cate O'Toole has woven in these dark, revisionist tales of Clementine, who comes powerfully and heartbreakingly alive under O'Toole's ministrations. The brilliant format allows readers to choose how they move through the collection, and which narratives they want to privilege. Reminiscent of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, O'Toole creates such utterly genuine and believable (if sometimes scary!) characters and landscapes you'll forget you are reading fiction. And you'll never listen to 'Oh, My Darling, Clementine' in the same way after reading this book."—Sheryl St. Germain
"In OH MY DARLING, Cate O'Toole invites us to take part in the highs and lows of the California gold rush. Each decision we make as Clementine, a miner's daughter, brings us closer to love and fortune, or, just as easily, death and despair. With masterful, sometimes unflinching, prose, O'Toole paints the harsh realities of the untamed West where mere survival is a challenge. She asks us again and again what it is we really want, what it is we really need, and as we navigate Clementine's many possible lives, we must decide what we're really after: gold, love, or something closer to contentment."—Rebecca King
"A genius premise, wonderfully executed. OH MY DARLING is both lyrical and savage. Cate O'Toole's prose is precise and poetic, gritty and lovely. The complexity of the branched narrative matches the complexity of the central character as she navigates a world of bright possibilities and dark outcomes."—Jacqueline May Parkison
"All roads lead to death—it's the choices along the journey that make the life. Cate O'Toole has masterfully created the parallel stories of Clementine, letting the reader choose her path, which, while not pretty, is made of choices, as all lives are. Grim, sure, but choose your own adventure never goes out of style, especially when the language sings and the setting gets dirt in your teeth."—Harmony Neal
"OH MY DARLING is a collection you can read over and over again and find a different ending every time. The reader has the luxury of choice where the protagonist, Clementine, does not. Her world is sparse and bullying, tough and dry. It's filled with unforgiving landscapes and dangerous men. But Clementine is a survivor. She finds water and small pleasures and reasons to go on. But most impressively, she finds hope and delivers it to the reader in beautiful, haunting ways."—Aubrey Hirsch
Cate O'Toole was awarded a Rachel Carson Fellowship and earned her MFA in fiction from Chatham University. She is the author of the chapbook Big Women, Big Girls (Stamped Books, 2011) and her stories have appeared in Six Sentences and the 6S, Volume 1 anthology, Wanderlust Review, the Linnet's Wings, shady side review and elsewhere. Cate was the 2012 recipient of the Poetry & Prose Winter Getaway's Jan-Ai Scholarship. She lives and writes in Seattle, WA.
Author City: SEATTLE, WA USA