A stirring debut collection led by characters who prove at once resilient and vulnerable, impulsive and wise. In each of these stories, Michael Croley illustrates with impressive skill and insight how long and insistently the ghosts of our former lives tend to linger, how even across great distances they manage to tug us back toward the hometowns we hoped to leave behind. Croley's lightweight and sure-footed sentences tour us through the haunts and locales of Fordyce, Kentucky—its fire pits and crumbling motels, its baseball diamonds and cloudy mountains—at a brisk, hypnotizing tempo.
A Korean woman in rural Kentucky clings to the love found in her new marriage as the mountain above her washes away. A dutiful daughter struggles to help her father navigate their shared grief--and the sudden release of dangerous, exotic animals. A new father driven by his pride confronts Japanese soldiers in a harrowing raid on his home. In his debut collection, Michael Croley takes us from the Appalachian regions of rural Kentucky and Ohio to a village in South Korea in thirteen engaging stories in which characters find themselves, wherever they are, in states of displacement. In these settings, Croley guides his characters to some semblance of home, where they circle each other's pain, struggle to find belonging, and make sense of the mistakes and bad breaks that have brought them there. Croley uses his absorbing prose to uncover his characters' hidden disquiet and to bring us a remarkable and unique collection that expands the scope of modern American literature.
About the Author
Michael Croley was born in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature in 2016, his stories and essays have appeared in Narrative, Catapult, Blackbird, Kenyon Review Online, Virginia Quarterly Review, the Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing at Denison University.