“The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old” now available
My book of short stories, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old, is now available. My essay on the book is here.
Each of the twelve stories is told by an unnamed narrator, among them a high school student, an elderly widower, a woman in her twenties, a mother in her thirties, a mother going to pick up her son from the airport; an old man who misses his wife, another man whose wife has left him, a mother who doesn’t mean to alienate her son, a man who wishes he had had children after all, and a young woman who observes a love affair she wishes that she were the object of. Beyond anything, these people are simply lonely, unmoored and adrift, and I wanted desperately to give voice to them, to their doubts and their wishes for belonging.
Wherever you order it from, please consider leaving a review or comment.
Below are readings of two of the stories, and sections from the closing novella:
“Holy Dread” is about a young man who no longer appears to exist, having been displaced by a doppelgänger. Having recently moved to a new town, suddenly no one recognizes him, and he begins to return home to see how far this has gone, and how much he is not really here.
“Alone” is my attempt to recapture the depression and anxiety of high school, stripping away the quirkiness usually given to such characters to make them more palatable in movies or other books, to reveal the brutal reality of feeling that you belong nowhere. Tell me if this was high school for you–or is still you right now:
“Bearing the Names of Many” is the novella that concludes the book. It takes the form of a diary written a few months or a few years from now, as the narrator watches the world go under and descend into war and spreading disease. Assuming no one will last to write the global history of this end, he sets to documenting what will really be lost: the simplicity of everyday lives, and the generosity of everyday love. The first chapter introduces the narrator and the world:
In chapter 8, as the world outside becomes more and more brutal, the narrator ruminates over the meaning of suffering throughout history, and eventually he comes to remember his wife, who has left him:
In chapter 29, the narrator finally sees a viral video making the rounds, confirming that a continent away nuclear war has indeed begun:
In chapter 32, the narrator spends his last night at home, before leaving with a larger group seeking safety beyond the border:
In chapters 33-35, the narrator nears the end of his story with anecdotes from the initial weeks and months of wandering amid destruction, and still discovering hope: