An intensely imagined third collection from an author whose work has been hailed as "exceptional," "extraordinary," "uncanny," and "refreshing, compelling, and moving." Urban is a "great storyteller" who writes "almost unbearably lovely prose."
What unites the unlikely protagonists in these very different short stories is their search for refuge. In the opening story, "The Day of the Beheaded Barbie," the reappearance of an old friend pushes Melanie to a shocking discovery about her vanished sister and the daughter she left behind. In "Small Burials," Diana's husband whisks her away to Europe when children start haunting her after a devastating loss. Middle-aged Doris in "Table for Four" struggles with the disappointments that a set of customers in her diner throw into sharp relief, while Manya in "Gravel" tries to support her ex-boyfriend's wife while hiding the truth about their relationship.
Some choose an absurd imaginative escape, like Lonnie of "Married, Living in Italy," who's telling her family she moved to Florence, or Stella in "Care of the Soul," who hasn't yet managed to inform her children that she's returned to the country after fleeing her divorce. Then there's the desperately lonely narrator of "Someone in the House," who thinks she's being stalked--or at least, she hopes she is--while young Mireya of "The Far Shore" is turning into a fish to rescue her brother from an unbearable fate.
Through it all, these characters are crushingly believable and endearingly real in their defenses, their damage, their humor, and their sheer will as they turn suffering into salvation. Full of disappearing children and surfacing secrets, fragile triumphs and imminent loss, these eloquent tales laced with hilarity and grief illuminate shared human truths about betrayal, rescue, the places we seek shelter, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.
About the Author
Misty Urban is a fiction writer, medievalist, essayist, editor, and writing teacher. Her award-winning collections of short stories and assorted medieval scholarship explore the adventures of monstrous and misbehaving women, while her creative nonfiction explores the adventure of motherhood. In her historical fiction and romances, she likes to reward her ambitious, rule-breaking heroines with handsome heroes and happy futures. She holds an MFA in fiction and a Ph.D. in medieval literature and lives in eastern Iowa with a handsome park ranger, two small budding scholars, and a rather heavy collection of books. Find her online at mistyurban.net.