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 writes misbehaving women who find their way across the genres of historical and contemporary romance, contemporary fantasy, and award-winning short fiction. Her debut short story collection won the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award and her debut novel, a bodyswap thriller, was a BookFest Award winner and a 5-star Reader's Favorite. She holds a Ph.D. in medieval literature, and her dissertation on monstrous women in medieval romance won the D. Simon Evans Award. Her creative nonfiction has been nominated for several Best of the Net awards. More about her published and forthcoming work can be found at her website, mistyurban.com.