are stories about people searching for love or attempting to come to terms with
an absurd and menacing world. The
characters struggle to free themselves from loneliness and obsession, seeking
peace that is seldom easy and sometimes impossible to find.
“The Heart of Alabama” a woman discovers too late that she has lost her two
young sons to a world of violence, while in “The Child Soldier” a man
searches desperately for love as he cares for his adopted grandson, a boy
haunted by the time he has spent as a soldier for the Khmer Rouge.
The boy struggles to escape from the ghosts of his past.
Of these fourteen stories twelve are set in the deep South and two in the
south of France. With a few exceptions the characters inhabit rural
landscapes. In “Rising on
Christmas” a man paddles a canoe down a whitewater river in Alabama and has a
disturbing and dangerous encounter with a religious group who think that a dead
deer caught in a hydraulic has a connection with Jesus.
The French stories are set in the sparsely populated foothills of the
Pyrenees in southwest France. In
“Walking to Carcassonne” a man who avoided service during the Vietnam War
and whose life is in shambles goes on a walking tour over the Pyrenees to visit
the spot where his father died a hero’s death during World War II.
ISBN, trade paper: 1-931982-15-5, $14.95 Sale $7.50
ISBN, library edition: 1-931982-14-7, $25.00 Sale $12.50
Scott Ely was born in Atlanta, GA, and he moved to Jackson, MS when he was eight. He served in Vietnam (somewhere in the highlands near Pleiku). He graduated with an MFA from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He teaches fiction writing at Winthrop University in South Carolina. His previous book publications include STARLIGHT (Weidenfeld & Nicolson); PITBULL (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Penguin); OVERGROWN WITH LOVE (University of Arkansas Press); THE ANGEL OF THE GARDEN (University of Missouri Press). His work has been translated in Italy, Germany, Israel, Poland, and Japan. There were also UK editions of the novels published.
| Excerpt From
Ben Longstreet was standing a few doors down from the oldest house in
Charleston, making a sketch of an iron gate, when he heard the woman speak
before he saw her, her accent mid-western.