Scott Ely


These 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.

In “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

About the Author: 

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 the Book:

      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.
      “I’ve always loved that gate,” she said.
      She was tall and blonde, almost as tall as he was. She wore heels and a linen dress that a few days before he had seen in the window of one of the shops on King Street. She was definitely not one of the tourists, who in June wandered about the town in shorts and running shoes.
      “This town is full of beautiful gates,” he said.
      They stood talking in the shade of a live oak. He told her he had come to Charleston from Atlanta to start a metalworking business. He had opened a shop on the upper end of King Street. She was Lisa Seymour. A plastic surgeon.
      He asked her if she wanted to have a drink, and they went to the bar in one of the big hotels on Meeting Street. He ordered himself a vodka and tonic. She said she would have the same.
      “What’s your tattoo?” she asked.
      She could have seen only a piece of it. He pulled up the sleeve of his t-shirt. The tattoo was a circle. Inside was an open savannah completely empty, just grass and sky, not even a bird circling above it.

“What’s it mean?” she asked.