Cover: The Call Is Coming from Inside the House, Allyson McOuat, ECW Press

The Call Is Coming from Inside the House: Essays

McOuat, Allyson

  • From Allyson McOuat, author of the popular 2020 New York Times Modern Love essay “The Ghost Was the Least of Our Problems,” comes her debut essay collection

    In a series of intimate and humorous dispatches, McOuat examines her identity as a queer woman, and as a mother, through the lens of the pop culture moments in the ’80s and ’90s that molded her identity. McOuat stirs the ingredients required to conjure an unsettled spirit: the horrors of pregnancy and motherhood, love and loss, the supernatural, kaleidoscopic sexuality, near-miss experiences, and the unexplained moments in life that leave you haunted.

    Through her own life experiences, various tall tales, urban legends, analysis of horror and thriller films, and spine-chilling true crime incidents, McOuat uncovers how cultural gatekeeping has forced her, as a mother and queer femme woman, to persistently question her own reality. Through this charming and humorous exploration of what moments have made her who she is, McOuat demonstrates for readers a way through by forgiving herself and exorcising her stubborn attachment to a phantom, heteronormative, nuclear family structure.


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  • Allyson McOuat (she/her) is a queer writer from Toronto who has been published in the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, Broadview Magazine, and Plenitude Magazine. McOuat’s Modern Love essay was adapted for television by Modern Love Amsterdam on Amazon Prime. She is a mom of two amazing daughters.

  • Published: April 2024

    ISBN: 9781770417557

    Dimensions: 5.25 x 8.25 in.

    Pages: 224

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The Call Is Coming from Inside the House is at once tender and surprising, smart and funny. It is the life of the party: each essay sings for its supper in a most engaging and touching way. Smart Stories for Queer Girls is a possible subtitle for this lovely wonder of a book.” — Laurie Petrou, author of the bestselling book Stargazing

“The analysis of horror and true crime is accessible for those not familiar with the genres, while still fresh and nuanced enough for those who are. With a candid, humorous tone, McOuat’s essays expose terror in the ordinary and vice versa.” — Maisonneuve Magazine

“I count myself much more of a fiction than a nonfiction reader, so when I tell you that Allyson McOuat’s debut essay collection The Call Is Coming From Inside The House is one of the best books I’ve read in years, it means a lot. With feminist insights reminiscent of Melissa Febo’s Girlhood and horror film analysis on par with Carmen Maria Machado’s brilliant essay on Jennifer’s Body, McOuat’s writing effortlessly weaves together personal narrative and (pop) cultural criticism. Touching on themes of motherhood and pregnancy to true crime and horror movies, this collection is a dream for any reader looking for queer feminist essays that will intellectually thrill you, scare you, and make you laugh.” — Autostraddle

“Reading The Call Is Coming from Inside the House feels like sitting at a kitchen table and listening to a range of issues. While the essays may tell eerie or heartbreaking stories, they are gently glazed with humor, and the reader can take solace here, despite all of the problems in the world. So, why not pause from the rush of the world, walk inside, and answer McOuat’s call?” — The Chicago Review of Books