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The award-winning author’s “gorgeously-crafted second collection of stories” explores moments of profound loss, discovery, and transition (Charlotte Observer).

The stories in this volume explore the myriad ways people lose, find, and hold on to one another. When all else fails her characters—science, religion, family, self—the powerful act of storytelling keeps their broken lives together. Each story in this rewarding and multifaceted collection introduces people who yearn for better lives and find themselves entangled in the hopes and dreams that heal and bind us all.

The title story—chosen by John Updike for The Best American Short Stories of the Century anthology—follows two generations of a family driven by the “patient and brutal need that people called hope.” In “The Jap Room,” winner of the 2008 Goodheart Prize, a woman tries to help her WWII veteran husband finally come home. “Rowing to Darien” introduces a famous English actress as she rows away from her husband’s rice plantation. In “Hush” a gravely ill man encounters himself in the darkness of Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave. These and other stories deftly broach universal themes of love, loss, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

Foreword by the Flannery O’Connor Prize–winning author Mary Hood

Pam Durban, Mary Hood

Pam Durban is the author of the novels The Laughing Place (winner of the Townsend Prize), So Far Back (winner of the Lillian Smith Award), and The Tree of Forgetfulness and the short story collection All Set About with Fever Trees. Her short fiction has been published in Georgia Review, Tri-Quarterly, Southern Review, Shenandoah, Crazyhorse, Epoch, New Virginia Review, Ohio Review, and elsewhere. Durban has received a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award as well as a James Michener Creative Writing Fellowship from the University of Iowa. With former Georgia poet laureate David Bottoms, she is founding coeditor of Five Points literary magazine. A native of Aiken, South Carolina, she is the Doris Betts Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The University of South Carolina Press