The Fifth Woman is an exquisite, breathtaking, exquisitely crafted book that plumbs the depths of what it means to love, to grieve, and to be human. Caspers masterfully captures the power hidden in ordinary moments, and the everyday mysteries that shape our lives. The Fifth Woman is singular, and profoundly moving.”
— The Carolina De Robertis Review
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from sarabande books

The Fifth Woman: a Novel in Stories  

Select Praise for The Fifth Woman

“The Fifth Woman is stealthily astonishing from its first line to its last. Over the course of twenty-three connected short fictions, the writer marks out a trail of mourning that is both quite straightforward and miraculously layered, strange, and emotionally multifaceted. There is not a single sentence in these stories that is not as clear as water. . . . It is a wonderful book.”

Stacey D’Erasmo, from the Introduction

“The stories in The Fifth Woman recall the fabulist tales of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya and KellyLink. In exquisitely rendered sentences, Nona Caspers pushes at the borders of the surreal while exploring the fine lines separating love and loss, memory and desire. She has written a book to be savored.”

May-lee Chai, author of Dragon Chica and Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories

“Grief alters the world in ways that are both expected and less so. The Fifth Woman is a story of love, loss, and carrying on, in language that is always precise and often transporting. There issadness here but also acute observation and magical happenings. Nona Caspers is a true original.”

Jean Thompson

“Let me just put it there: This is one of the most beautiful, sorrowful, light-infused love stories I’ve ever read. Some stories you walk around with for good. The Fifth Woman will be one ofthem. Nona Caspers will change the way you see. Can a reader ask for more?”

Peter Orner, author of Am I Alone Here? and Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge


"At the center of this book is the death of the narrator’s partner in a bicycling accident. Each short chapter serves as a brief vignette of, or occasionally a magical-realist metaphor for, the grieving process. A shadow of a dog appears in her apartment with no apparent source; a crack opens in the ceiling and splits her building down the middle. One day she notices in the alley below her window four women chatting together and a fifth, with no features, standing on the perimeter. She finds herself wondering: What did she want from me? What are the things that matter? At times dryly comical, at other times radiantly surreal, The Fifth Woman is a testament to the resurrecting power of memory and enduring love."

The MastersReview, “22 Books we’re Looking Forward To This Year”

On Sale: 8/7/2018 Paperback, $15.95, 160 pages

ISBN: 978-1-946448-17-0 

For additional information contact Joanna Englert, Director of Publicity and Marketing,

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports Sarabande Books with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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