The Proper Words for Sin
Coal burns underground and destroys a small town. A woman confronts police officers with her pet copperheads. A young girl drinks Drano. A man is banned from his favorite bar.Within these eleven short stories, Flannery O’Connor Award winner and poet Gary Fincke brings into focus the small struggles of ordinary people. The characters within this collection, from boys and girls to fathers, mothers, and the aging, live in cities, in towns, and in rural areas. Yet, no matter the surroundings, all seem alone within a collective anxiety. Set against extraordinary events, such as the Three Mile Island accident, the Challenger Disaster, and the Kennedy assassination, these stories personalize history through a juxtaposition between large and small tragedies and the unflinching desire to find insight within and redemption from weakness and shortcoming.
Fincke’s people counter their everyday terrors . . . with sheer gritty determination. . . .Fine, close work from a master.’
Stewart O’Nan, author of Snow Angels, The Odds, and Emily, Alone
Subtle yet powerful, passionate but clear-eyed . . . It’s all I want from fiction.’
Steve Yarbrough, author of Safe from the Neighbors and The Oxygen Man
Richly detailed and generous. A moving collection.’
William J. Cobb, author of The Bird Saviors
Powerful, insightful, and cut to the bone.’
Joan Connor, author of How To Stop Loving Someone
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