"Fortunately, Bergman always historicizes and never idealizes. These stories feel both specific and flexible, depicting characters whose complexity and variability hinder the making of any one unifying “point.” Some of the stories, too, are told from the perspective not of one of the almost-famous women of the collection’s title but of one of her associates. Lovers, employees, siblings, friends: By including these lesser-known women, Bergman emphasizes the charisma of their better-known contemporaries; and by assiduously depicting their intimacy and power struggles, she allows for a close examination of the multiplicity of women’s experiences." -New York Times
"Generally speaking, most of the "almost famous" women in this compelling collection fit in that intriguing category — trouble either found them or they stirred trouble up. You'll learn a lot about these women's unruly lives by reading Bergman's stories, but you'll also probably come away feeling that most were pretty difficult women, better to read about than to meet in person. Bergman right now may be an "almost famous woman" herself — a recognized minor name in contemporary literature. But if she keeps on writing these kinds of intense, richly imagined tales, who knows where she'll end up?" -Maureen Corrigan, NPR
"Original and surprising...A collection of stories as beautiful and strange as the women who inspired them." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Fearless..." -Vanity Fair
"Rough-cut gems of a bygone era." -O, The Oprah Magazine
"Bergman is a spry and meticulous writer, and these stories linger in one’s memory long after reading them...Bergman’s new stories give us the best of what short fiction offers: a glimpse of intriguing characters, told in unique and varied voices, set in pivotal snatches of their fascinating lives." -Star Tribune
“In these inventive short stories, off-the-radar historical characters—a motorbike racer, a diva, Oscar Wilde’s niece—enter the limelight at last.” (MORE Magazine)
"Gutsy and expertly written." -Bustle
"...stories that are so intriguing you wish they were full-length novels." -Miami Herald
A collection "about women whose strange and various pursuits propelled them to near-fame, promises to be ...inspiring." Huffington Post, 2015 Books We Can't Wait to Read
"There’s so much talk about this title, you’d think it’s on shelves already — that’s how excited people are about Almost Famous Women. And it’s with good reason; Megan Mayhew Bergman’s second collection, all about women on the fringes of history, is gutsy and expertly written." Bustle, 12 of the Most Anticipated Books of 2015
"I’ve just finished a lovely book called “Almost Famous Women,” by Megan Mayhew Bergman — semi-fictional stories based on factual characters. The story of Lord Byron’s daughter Allegra is heartbreaking." Anjelica Huston, New York Times Sunday Book Review
"These talented, resilient women — all of whom lived on fame's fringes — are resurrected and reimagined in a much-buzzed-about new story collection by the author of "Birds of a Lesser Paradise." -Chicago Tribune
"The conceit for Bergman's second collection (after Birds of a Lesser Paradise) is immediately appealing—short, punchy sketches of women either completely neglected by popular memory or better known for their association with men...the collection is worth it for its feminist reclamation of the narrative that—for example—celebrates Byron and forgets his abandoned daughter." Publisher's Weekly
Birds of a Lesser Paradise:
New York Times:
We want stories to stir our desires. We also want them to lead us to places we don’t recognize and build us a temporary residence there. Bergman provides alluring glimpses into the strangeness, the ruthlessness, of the animal kingdom. Read more.
Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly: "Bergman’s stellar debut is set among the dense forests and swamps of her native North Carolina and rooted firmly in a crumbling and economically troubled post-crash America." Read more.
Kirkus Reviews: "A top-notch debut... that deserves big praise. The beginning, one suspects, of a fine career." Read more.
Booklist Review: "Bergman has a facility for characterization that makes the stories echo in memory long after the first reading... Readers will be shocked, amazed, and always entertained by the work of this accomplished writer of short fiction."
Rebecca Schinksky, Book Riot: "Megan Mayhew Bergman’s stories are as technically skilled as they are emotionally affecting." Read more.
Huffington Post: "Vermont native Megan Mayhew Bergman catalogs her run-ins with nature in this collection of 12 short stories, which use rare birds, mothering whales and scraggly dogs to talk about the human condition." Read more.
Boston Globe: "
Megan Mayhew Bergman is a top-notch emerging writer.Bergman possesses a crisp and often poetic voice and wily, intelligent humor." Read more.
Book Lady's Blog: "...there’s not a weak piece in the bunch! Every last story in this collection belongs here. It’s a rare book that deserves that praise, and an even rarer debut...This is destined to be one of my favorites of 2012." Read more.
BookBrowse: "Bergman's stories are swarming with nature - with oceans, wildlife, biology, the whole mess of planet Earth - but their real strength comes from how they're always able to distill it down, again and again, to us: our own, singular, one-shot human lives, and the people we share them with." Read more.
Associated Press: "The author...draws scenes and characters with a quick, incisive touch...
Their grief and anxieties are palpable. And most of their animals, like Faye Done Away, are lovable." Read more.
NPR: (On why I dedicated my book to my two daughters) "I hope what they'll feel first is intrigue, and permission to have intellectual curiosity, permission to live passionately, and you know, chasing dreams is sort of a silly expression — but I think people that do that are happier. I think there's a lot of dissonance for women, where there's how we want to live, and how we want to see ourselves, and then what our real circumstances are. And I think the more we can close that distance between who we want to be and who we really are — the happier we are."
LA Review of Books: I’m interested in anyone’s particular sense of control and autonomy — control over their own life. Traditionally and across many cultures women’s desires and careers often take a back seat to the men in their lives and I’m fascinated by cultures or particular women where this isn’t the case. I respect the difficulty and complexity in stepping outside of those lives. Especially when we’re talking a hundred years ago.
With author Priya Parmar at Barnes and Noble: "Whenever I’m writing and I come up against the question “should I continue?” I ask myself these questions: Am I wasting the reader’s time or am I giving a gift of beauty, entertainment, or insight?"
Bookslut: "One thing I knew when I began this collection: We need to see more women in fiction living outside of traditional patriarchal arrangements. We need to see women who chase wild dreams and professions as ardently as men. We need to see women being physical, facing danger, and acting as the heroes of their own narratives."
The Rutland Herald: "Whenever work feels dangerous or you know it’s going to make a certain segment of people uncomfortable, that’s when you know you’ve got something."
Wall Street Journal: "I saw myself, and so many women of my generation, trying to make decisions about motherhood, trying to carve out satisfying lives in rural areas; these observations certainly populate the collection." Read more
Full Stop Mag: "I think the success of writing Southern narratives and Southern characters rests on the skill of the author. I certainly wrote some early stories that stirred up tired ideas, stories I’d like to forget about old people and biscuits and church." Read more.
Gulf Coast: "If I look back at my academic career, the first time I sat up straight in my seat and stopped drawing trees in my notebook was during an Anthropology of Gender class." Read more.
Interview with Julianna Baggott, author of Pure: "I'm a homeland-less, homesick homebody. Though I long for the south, and feel as though I have more clarity about it now that I'm gone, I love Vermont." Read more.
Seven Days: “I just appreciate the medium of fiction to be able to explore the idea of gender roles. Fiction can illuminate some essential human truths... that of woman, mother and animal lover is...the perspective I have to offer.” Read more.