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Frost Heaves - by T. Stores (Paperback)
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In southern Vermont, the annual freezing and thawing of the earth forces stones to the surface, breaking asphalt, disrupting civilized life. This is the setting for the stories in Frost Heaves, a physically harsh and rural place within a few hours’ drive of Boston and New York. It is a landscape where retreat, even escape, to a quaint and bucolic lifestyle is regularly upset by reminders that a human is, in the end, another part of the natural world and a part of a larger social organism. In this collection, an eclectic mix of characters interact, negotiate community, and encounter the natural world—bears, otters, moose, insects—in confrontations with the reality of their own individual strengths and weaknesses, the welling up of hard truths in the seasons of each life. T Stores is a storyteller, probably because she grew up in a huge extended American Southern family and spent much of her childhood hiding under the kitchen table listening to her elders’ gossip and fables of the past. Teresa Stores writes with compassion and insight, finding the inescapable truths hiding in plain sight layered over an ordinary life. Though these stories are individually complete, in the book collection they are also connected by theme, character, and setting, and with an understanding that individual experience is a shared human story sometimes only barely perceived as overlapping, cohesive, and common. The book’s structure is both seasonal and cyclical, with each section of stories (each close third person point of view, focused on the experience of a protagonist) introduced by a story that shifts point of view in rapid succession, connecting the community of voices to place.
The titular story in the collection was selected winner of the Kore Press Fiction Prize, published as a chapbook and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. “Big Night” placed 13th in the Writers’ Digest Annual Competition and was recently published in BlueLine.“Fisher” was short-listed for the Fish Story Prize and published in Literary Mama.“Fresh Air” was featured as the “story of the month” at Unmanned Press. “Labyrinth,” placed 9th in the Writer’s Digest“Short-Short” competition and was long-listed for the Fish Story Prize.“Love/Theory #7” was published in Sinister Wisdom.