Mouth. Stories

Author: Ghosh, Puloma

Publication Date:

June 2024



Original language and publisher

English | Astra House

Territories Handled

World excl. North America


Fantasy, Science-Fiction

Mouth. Stories

Author: Ghosh, Puloma


These stories are a marvel, at once sensual and unsettling, strange and yet achingly familiar. Puloma Ghosh has conjured a wholly original literary exploration of loneliness, eroticism, loss, grief, and the ghosts of the heart—a human haunting for which there is no exorcism. — Libba Bray, #1 New York Times bestselling author

These stories are hot to the touch. I loved the wildness here, where sensuality lives beside terror. Mouth will kiss—with teeth. — Shruti Swamy, author of A House Is a Body

This one is not for normal readers. This one is for weirdos. The people who like the weirdness to creep up on them until you’re wondering how far the creep is gonna go, the ones who understand the intrinsic link between sexuality and sadness. Puloma Ghosh’s stories are about obsession and hunger and yearning, about feeling alone and strange, about blood and sex and the pain of belonging to two places and nowhere all at the same time . . . With effortless prose and skillfully applied surrealism, Mouth is an unforgettable debut collection from a writer I cannot wait to see more from.” —Christina Orlando, Reactor

This surreal collection of stories will blow your mind. Both with the content and how well Ghosh has mastered the short story. Each story in this collection bends genre and weaves through expectations. Each one left my jaw on the floor. —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful

“These stories are so sharp, so strange, so precise – like perfect razors, meant to cut to the heart and open it up to the gasp of pain but also, to astonishing beauty.” —Amber Sparks, author of And I Do Not Forgive You

“Mouth is a work that will leave you forever changed.” —Megan Kamalei Kakimoto, author of Every Drop Is a Man’s Nightmare

“There’s a cure for loneliness in each one of Puloma Ghosh’s deceptively gentle and unsettling short stories, but always with a ghastly cost. With a penetrative gaze and devastating understanding of our world, Mouth is as sexy as it is uncanny and as gorgeous as it is disgusting. If a novel is a love affair then these short stories are a haunting handshake with a stranger that you’ll be thinking about in the middle of the night, somewhat frightened and a little bit aroused. Puloma Ghosh is the new spectral fiction queen of our time.” —Melissa Lozada-Oliva, author of Dreaming of You and Candelaria

“Ghosh has somehow taken our insecurities and doubts and rendered them into a gruesome, macabre, and titillating collection of tales. The prose sears every page. Mouth is a marvel of imagination and a most impressive debut. Ghosh is a writer to follow.” —Alejandro Varela, author of the 2022 National Book Award fiction finalist, The Town of Babylon

“Beautiful and unsettling, creepy and so deeply human: this collection delights with the unexpected, in the gorgeous prose, in the unbound imagination in the stories, and in the formal play . . . All while interrogating lies, truth, and what is real in the vivid description that brings the world Ghosh creates alive.” —Ananda Lima, Michigan Quarterly Review

“These stories are insidiously terrifying, cunning & deeply empathetic — with Mouth, Ghosh has offered us a masterclass in surrealist short fiction, bound to haunt its readers long after they’ve put down the book.”  —Olivia Gatwood, author of New American Best Friend and Life of the Party

Puloma Ghosh is brilliant—a writer whose vision is wholly unique, quite often brutal or surreal, yet so oddly insinuating that within half a sentence you’ll find that you’ve adopted it as your own. Each of the stories in Mouth presents an entire world in miniature, and if those worlds shimmer with irreality, well, so does ours; and if they swerve past the edges of expectation, well, so does ours; and if they bruise you or break your heart, well, ours does, too. —Kevin Brockmeier, author of Ghost Variations and The Brief History of the Dead

I love Puloma Ghosh’s knife-sharp, spectral stories. “Mouth” ushers readers into a world filled with poltergeist roommates, haunted houses, reality-shifting anomalies—and women who seek to know the world, ghosts and all. This is a stunning and original collection. —Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold a Wolf By the Ears

Puloma Ghosh is the high priestess of horny women who long for death, approach the altar at your own peril. “Mouth” holds you in the strange liminal spaces of the near future and lets you look around, fending off and falling in love with the lonely, beautiful, lost creatures. Her pop stars, persimmons, and zombie figure skaters navigate a hostile world that might soon be our own, with the curiosity and anxiety that makes you wonder if it’s already here. Each story is a haunting song you could swear you’ve heard before. — Jamie Loftus, author of Raw Dog

The characters in Puloma Ghosh’s first short story collection stalk your subconscious like creatures prowling the forest’s edge. With morbid imagination, pitch-black humor and even darker empathy, Ghosh imagines realities we cannot and explores the private squirms of want in the numb, hungry people she finds there. Alluring, dreamlike, unforgettable. — Jayson Greene, author of Once More We Saw Stars

Werewolf lovers, cemetery girls, beasts that have no name—this collection is both tender and disgusting. Fraught and languid. Ghosh is a witch with words. She’s in a dark covenant with our greatest writers who aren’t afraid to explore the horrors and joys of womanhood: Samantha Hunt, Mariana Enriquez, Kelly Link, Angela Carter, Carmen Maria Machado, Helen Oyeyemi, Shirley Jackson. . . A collection of contemporary fairy tales perfect for strange women and the beings that love them. — Molly McGhee, author of Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind


In this debut collection, Puloma Ghosh uses the speculative as a catalyst to push her stories and characters beyond what reality allows. Exploring grief, intimacy, sexuality, and bodily autonomy, Mouth leans into the bizarre and absurd while reaching for the truth.

In “Dessication,” a teen figure skater with necrophiliac tendencies is convinced the only other Indian girl at the rink is a vampire. A woman returns to Kolkata in “The Fig Tree,” where she is haunted by her deceased mother or a shakchunni, or both. “Nip” bottles up the consuming and addictive nature of infatuation while “Natalya” is a hair-raising autopsy of an ex-lover. And in “Persimmons,” a girl comes to terms with her own community sacrifice.

Blurring the lines of conventional reality and giving fangs, talons, and singular sharpness to the otherwise ordinary, awkward, and unmentionable, Mouth’s surrealism is both unique and captivating. Puloma Ghosh reaches into otherworldly spaces while exploring the everyday struggles of isolation, longing, and the aching desires of our flesh.

Marketing Information

  • Debutiful: “The Most Anticipated Debuts of 2024”
  • Indie Next June 2024 nominations
  • Included in the PRH Library newsletter “NEW in Translated Fiction”