Kelly Luce

Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail is a debut collection of stories from Kelly Luce. Hana Sasaki will introduce you to many things—among them, an oracular toaster, a woman who grows a tail, and an extraordinary sex-change operation. Set in Japan, these stories tip into the fantastical, plumb the power of memory, and measure the human capacity to love.

Winner, Foreword Review's Editor's Prize in Fiction
Winner, IBPA's Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book

Order Now!

Kevin Berlandi's Hana Sasaki's Tail makes its premier at Festival de Cannes!


  • The Chicago Tribune full review
    "Luce has created a collection in which the donning of soft skins, naked or furred, is both an act of love and an expression of the unremitting strangeness of the self."

  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) full review
    "Luce's...incandescent prose lures readers into a land both familiar and fantastically foreign, melding Japanese folklore and traditions with strange and memorable characters."
  • San Francisco Chronicle full review
    "Kelly Luce makes a persuasive case for why she should be one of your favorite new short-story writers."

  • The Los Angeles Review full review
    "...despite Luce’s dazzling suspensions of disbelief, she never once misses the trapeze."

  • Bookslut full review
    "Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail is a pleasing mix of fantasy and delicate, intricate description, a tiny volume bursting with stories representing a deft sense of timing, imagination and wit."

  • The Collagist full review
    "Luce's voice throughout the collection is wonderfully imaginative and strong. She is the benevolent, mischievous force behind each story. And it's a force to be reckoned with."

  • The Japan Times full review
    "Luce manages to effortlessly capture both what it’s like to be a foreigner in Japan and to write in a believable way from the perspective of a native."

  • "This isn’t fantasy as means of explaining an inexplicable world, but fantasy as part and parcel of a world that constantly defies our explanation, but more importantly, doesn’t necessarily require an explanation at all."
  • Austin-American Statesman Joe Gross' full review
    "Three Scenarios is the best kind of surprise."

  • "...Luce transmogrifies a realistic setting into strange terrain worthy of Dick or LeGuin."

  • The Victoria Advocate full review

    "The language is fresh and genuine, the characters beguiling or charming in turn and the realities are as delicate and changeable as freshly blown glass."

Appearances & Readings

Whiskey & Words: Write A House, Palo Alto, CA, Thursday, May 19, 2016, 7:00PM.
Peeling Off Genre Labels," AWP conference, Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, March 31, 2016, 4:30PM.
Tell It Slant: Strange and Fantastic, Portland, OR, Thursday, February 4, 2016, 7:00PM
LitCrawl Austin, Sehr Flash: Fiction Becomes Music, Saturday, October 17, 2015, 9:30PM
Texas BookFestival, Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last, Saturday, October 17, 2015, 10:00AM
Lazers of Sexcellence w/Amber Tamblyn, Austin, TX, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 8:00PM
Michener Center for Writers graduation reading, Austin, TX, Friday, May 8, 2015, 7:00PM
AWP Bookfair, book signing @ A\SO table, Minneapolis, MN, Friday, April 10, 2015, 2:00PM
First Hearings, Dallas, TX, Thursday, March 12, 2015, 7:00PM
Short Story Panel, Austin, TX, Thursday, February 19, 2015, 7:00PM
Square Books, Oxford, MS, Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 7:00PM
Grand Prize Bar, Houston, TX, Thursday, November 6, 2014, 6:00PM
Lit Crawl Austin, The Liberty, Austin, TX, Saturday, October 25, 2014, 8:30PM
Illumine gala, Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, Friday, November 7, 2014, 7:00PM
Jackalope Reading Series, University of Wyoming, Friday, October 3, 2014, 7:00PM
Sunchild Finale, Austin, TX, Friday, September 26, 2014, 8:00PM
KGB Bar, NYC, NY, Sunday, May 18, 2014 8:00PM
Brooklyn Strategist (Lit Crawl Brooklyn), NYC, NY, Saturday, May 17, 2014 6:15PM
Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL, Wednesday, May 14, 2014 8:00PM
Winter Park Library, Orlando, FL, Wednesday, May 7, 2014 7:00PM
Arkansas Literary Festival, Little Rock, AR, Thursday-Sunday, April 24-27, 2014
Mission Creek Festival, Iowa City, IA, Friday, April 4, 2014
TCU Live Oak Reading Series, Fort Worth, TX, Tuesday, March 18, 2014 6:30PM
Loggernaut Reading Series, Portland, OR, Wednesday, March 5, 2014 7:00PM
University Women's Club, Seattle, WA, Friday, February 28, 2014 5:00PM
AWP Bookfair, Book Signing, Seattle, WA, Thursday, February 27, 2014 4:30PM
Fantagraphics, Small Press Austin reading & celebration, Seattle, WA, Tuesday, February 25, 2014 7:00PM
Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX, Friday, January 10, 2014 7:00PM
City Lit Books, Chicago, IL, Thursday, December 12, 2013 6:30PM
The Twig Book Shop, San Antonio, TX, Friday, November 8, 2013 7:00PM
Texas Book Festival, October 26-27, 2013
LitQuake, San Francisco, CA, Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 7:15PM
Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, CA, Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 7:30PM
Reading and launch at BookPeople, Austin, TX, Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 7:00PM


  • Jim Shepard author of You Think That’s Bad

    "Kelly Luce’s stories render memorably and with deadpan understatement their protagonists’ obsessive combinations of longing and grief and bafflement in the face of their loved ones’ emotional requirements, even as their worlds slip seamlessly into the uncanny. These stories unsettle as much as they entertain."
  • Elizabeth McCracken author of An Exact Replica of a
    Figment of My Imagination
    "In Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, Kelly Luce manages the impossible: each story delicate and enormous, intricate, glitteringly beautiful, never less than strange, never less than profound, ten spiderwebs astonishingly spun. Readers: here is your new favorite short story writer."

  • Stuart Dybek author of The Coast of Chicago

    "Kelly Luce writes stories whose charm is a lasting effect. Her work is witty, unpredictable, and freshly written. There’s a genuine imagination at work here that is a delight to spend time with."

  • Claire Vaye Watkins author of Battleborn

    "Let us all now append one more syllable to the list of the most acrobatic imaginations in contemporary American fiction: Saunders, Bender, Link, and Luce! This book in an incantation, and I adore it."

  • Amber Dermont author of The Starboard Sea

    "Perhaps the greatest magic of all is Luce’s gift for exploring the pains people take to love and be loved. Luce excels at making the fantastical familiar and the familiar fantastic. Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail is a triumph!"

  • Victor LaValle author of The Devil in Silver

    "Kelly Luce writes rings around most writers, and this is only her first book. Hana Sasaki is bold, strange, funny, and tender. These stories are just such a pleasure to read—so forget this blurb and get to the damn book."

Read & Listen

Feature on Early Work, age 9 & age 17
Mono No Aware: Writing Japan, a conversation with Lian Hearn at FSG Works in Progress
Interview: The Martin Lestrapes Show Podcast Hour
Short Fiction: "Lookout," Featured Fiction at The Master's Review
Review: Lucia Berlin's A Manual For Cleaning Women at Electric Literature
Interview: Conflict of Interest
New work in anthologies: Watchlist, Gigantic Worlds, The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, and
The Museum of All Things Awesome and That Go Boom
Halloween Fiction: "Ideal Head of a Woman," at Midnight Breakfast
Live interview and Hana Sasaki discussion on Late Night Library
Interview: The Nervous Breakdown
Two-sentence holidays stories: Salon
A Strange Object + Hana Sasaki in the New York Times
Interview: Publishers Weekly
Interview: Salon
Essay: "My First Time" at The Quivering Pen
Interview: Vol. 1 Brooklyn
Interview: the Rumpus
Short Fiction: "Ume" at New England Review
Short fiction: "Jackpot" in The Massachusetts Review
Poetry: "Chicago Cubs Sestina" in Hobart

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