Away to Stay (Paperback)
Featured in The Millions "Most Anticipated" 2022 Book Preview
Weary of rundown motels and long nights sleeping in her mother’s car, Olya wants nothing more than a home. It seems she might finally find one with Jack, her mother’s cousin who lives in a tumbledown ranch in Southern California’s Inland Empire. But safety is not all that it seems.
Away to Stay burns with the urgency of its young narrator who bears witness to a world of desperate people flailing inside a broken system. Olya’s mother Irina is a Russian émigré and self-serving liar, obsessed with becoming a prima ballerina and stalking Mikhail Baryshnikov. Cousin Jack is haunted by demons from the Afghanistan war—and the oft-absent Irina. Jack turns his obsession onto his untrainable dog named Bird that he kidnapped from the Riverside Police Department. To Olya, Bird is Job on four legs. Away to Stay is an off-beat and probing exploration of the precarity of shelter and home in the life of an immigrant and American working family.
About the Author
Mary Kuryla’s collection Freak Weather: Stories won the AWP Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction and was published by University of Massachusetts Press. Her stories have received The Pushcart Prize and the Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Prize and appeared in The Paris Review, Conjunctions, Agni, Epoch, and elsewhere.
Her award-winning shorts and feature films have premiered at Sundance and Toronto. She has written screen adaptations for studios and independents. Kuryla is a screenwriting professor in the School of Film and TV at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
"Family proves both an elusive dream and disquieting reality in Kuryla’s delightfully quirky debut...Kuryla shines in her descriptions of the offbeat characters and their antics…It adds up to a captivating coming-of-age yarn." ~Publishers Weekly
“Away to Stay is tender and madcap…tells the dreamy and disquieting tale of Olya, a 12-year-old living a transient life with her mother…Kuryla has successfully captured the desperations of homelessness.” ~Michael Seidlinger, Publishers Weekly Interview
"In her tense domestic novel, Kuryla offers readers complex characters to fill the pages of poetic prose."--Debutiful Reviewer
"A compelling read." --Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"Mary Kuryla's debut novel, Away to Stay...is a wild ride, a story about the search for home that moves at a breakneck speed and takes sudden left turns while remaining remarkably poignant and heartfelt. Kuryla’s prose shines and illuminates and lifts the story up...you can feel the search for home deep in one's bones."--Laura Spence-Ash
"Away to Stay is sinuous and zizzy, cinematic and beguiling. Mary Kuryla brings us news of our shared precarity, our brutal and borrowed world."--Noy Holland, author of Bird
"Mary Kuryla's gripping debut...The scrutiny of detail and rapid pacing of Away to Stay are so cinematic."— BOMB
"Away to Stay is a tense, propulsive, and thrillingly subjective coming-of-age story, with gorgeous prose and slippery characters that will stick with you."--J. Ryan Stradal, author of The Lager Queen of Minnesota
"Kuryla has an unflinching eye for the dark strangeness of domestic life and her ravishing prose only deepens the provocation. A powerful and stunningly original book." --Lexi Freiman, author of Inappropriation
A novel of the Inland Empire following a working class immigrant family struggling to keep afloat and housed in an unforgiving economy. —The Millions, Most Anticipated (February)