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A Different Bed Every Time


To Jemc the world is a place where each person, every human cypher, must devour another. What then can we do, if we are devoured, if we are overcome with our own devouring? Her escape plan is inspired and ancient — to become protean, to dwell in costume after costume, parcelling away the truth that can be found in each. But where is it hid? Ask her, though she may not say.
— Jesse Ball
Jac Jemc is an artisan. A Different Bed Every Time stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. Every story is painstakingly crafted with words and imagery that are honed and placed just so, creating a mosaic you feel grateful, exhilarated, thrilled to experience.
— Lindsay Hunter
Jac Jemc’s stories are bright, sharp, mysterious gifts, designed to enchant and unsettle. Jemc is a boundlessly inventive talent, and A Different Bed Every Time is a mythic and essential collection. Prepare to be awed.”
— Laura van den Berg


"This slim volume of achingly blunt and idiosyncratic stories will leave you wondering why everyone isn't buzzing about Jemc already."

- O: The Oprah Magazine

"Poignant, disturbing stories." 

- Chicago Magazine

"Jemc is a writer you read when you want to feel like there are possibilities in language and in life that you never even dreamed could be possible."

- Lindsay Hunter, The Chicago Reader

"Jemc is a keen craftsman. Her plots meander artfully and her characters intrigue." 

- Victoria Zhuang The Harvard Crimson

"Unless you're a connoisseur of small literary magazines, you won't just stumble across any stories by Jac Jemc, a Chicagoan who's also the author of the 2013 novel My Only Wife. And that's a damned shame. "

- Aimee Levitt The Chicago Reader

"This is a collection that’s hard to read in a sitting. I found that the punches of each story, and so many stories in succession, were almost too much to take in in at once. Jemc’s stories are rough. Unapologetic. And they’re not easy or transparent. But read in doses, they reveal something about not just the characters, but how we as readers want to read character in a story. What’s comfortable for us as readers? Why might an author want to shake that foundation? How can an author push language to be more complex? Jemc presents something hyper-ordinary in A Different Bed Every Time."

- Heather Partington, The Rumpus

"A lot of gauntlet-throwing for a slim book, but its provocations are worth meeting halfway."

- Kirkus

"Jac Jemc is a writer to be reckoned with...A challenging collection of very short stories filled with sparkling language about self-conscious characters trying to balance on the edges."

- Bruce Jacobs, Shelf Awareness

"Jemc’s stories are, on the whole, somber, her characters dispirited and constrained by a world unable to understand them. It is the prose—in the playful and poetic approach to language and form—that gives these stories light."

- Publishers Weekly

"In their brevity, the tales deliver wit and punch, and Jemc crafts pitch-perfect metaphors over and over."

- Diego Báez, Booklist

"An emotional, catastrophe-strewn story collection."

- Laura Pearson, Chicago Tribune

"Simultaneously bizarre and enchanting — and, at times, unsettling — Jemc’s stories are literary crumbs to be savored slowly, bit by bit; delicious yet incomplete puzzles certain to leave a taste that lingers long after your eyes have devoured the final sentence."

- Morgan Ribera,  Bustle

"In the stories in A Different Bed Every Time, she delves into a series of lives, finding unexpected ways to illuminate connections between people in precise prose."

- Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"I picture Jemc in her basement at a foot-powered grinding wheel pressing the tip of her pen to the stone, sparks flying off like tiny fireworks, until it's sharp as an icepick.  In what I've read so far in A Different Bed Every Time, the blade is well-honed.  All traces of bloat have been carved away. "

- David Abrams, The Quivering Pen

"When Jemc’s follow-up collection, A Different Bed Every Time, hits shelves, expect to encounter stories showcasing Jemc’s playful and poetic sensibility, "

- Michael Seidlinger, The Millions

"There is a cold wisdom shining through the stories in Jac Jemc’s A Different Bed Every Time, a detached and wry intelligence that seems to let us watch from over its shoulder, smiling commiseratorially, but never quite telling us what it sees. The stories we witness here are often surprising, sometimes surreal, and frequently heartbreaking, but they are all united by the singular confidence of Jemc’s style—assured, controlled, and clean." 

- Emily Kiernan. Heavy Feather Review

"Savor each one and maybe even go back and re-read what you missed." 

- The Daily Dosage

"We've a bit off-kilter, and where it was once possible to lay claim to reason as arbiter of the inscrutable, it has transpired that not only is reason likely to let us down, it may even have been the culprit, source of all confusion."

- The Talented Reader

"Jemc’s words wrap around the tongue like legs to a lover’s torso. Blunt, and without apology, each of the tales tells of our search for love, sex, and connection."

The Weekender

"A collection filled with love, the desire to love, and the desire to find peace, this book will provoke your existential side, and leave your thoughts ethereal and muddled for some time after."

- The Review Lab at Columbia College Chicago

"Abnormally normal situations and beautifully executed metaphors."

- Alyssa Radcliffe at Pamplemousse

Interviews / Press

All Write Already

Amazon Best Books of 2014: Short Stories

BookRiot Guide to 2014 Must Read Books from Indie Presses

Dennis Cooper's 2014 Favorites

Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review

Guild Literary Complex 25 Writers to Watch

Great Writers Steal

NewCity Lit 50

Prick of the Spindle

Quivering Pen: Best First Lines of 2014

Shelf Awareness BEA Buzz Book 2014

Time Out Chicago

Vol. 1 Brooklyn