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Description de l’éditeur
The stories in The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories, a collection from Ethan Rutherford, map the surprising ways in which the world we think we know can unexpectedly reveal its darker contours.
In stories that are alternately funny, persuasive, and compelling, unforgettable characters are confronted with, and battle against, the limitations of their lives.
Rutherford’s work has been selected by Alice Sebold for inclusion in the volume of The Best American Short Stories that she edited, and also published in Ploughshares, One Story, and American Short Fiction.
Rutherford's sharp, inspired debut collection runs the gamut of emotion and genre, blending laughter and misery, reality and fantasy, in eight tales that ponder the methods in which humans achieve isolation. While many of these methods take the form of physical vessels the Civil War-era submarine in the title story, the Russian ship headed toward the North Pole in "The Saint Anna," a futuristic shipper-tank named Halcyon roaming the desert for dying prey in "Dirwhals!" the author also fashions narratives focusing on psychological, corporeal seclusion. In "A Mugging," a marriage slowly erodes after a violent robbery, and the nostalgically beautiful "Summer Boys" recounts a devoted childhood friendship that unfolds over the long, meandering days of summer vacation. Children find themselves in a different kind of summer story in "Camp Winnesaka," a darkly comic, battle-ravaged tale of sleepover camp vs. sleepover camp that doubles as a sly commentary on the Iraq War. And though Rutherford (who appeared in Best American Short Stories 2009) dips into related thematic waters in nearly all of his narratives, the feeling of repetition never surfaces. These are robust, engaging stories.