In ten provocative stories, Ethan Chatagnier presents us with characters in crisis, people grappling with their own and others’ darkness as they search for glimmers to carry them through difficult times, untenable tasks, uncertain futures. The collection explores with unflinching eloquence the quandaries of conscience posed by the present, but also plunges us into a startlingly prescient “what if?” world, exploring in both realms questions concerning the value of perseverance, art, hope, and heart.
In “The Law of Threes,” a reluctant cop tries to survive a night of frenzied police retribution. In “Miracle Fruit,” a genetic engineer is tasked with destroying the world’s last seed bank. “The Unplayable Etudes” follows a damaged yet brilliant pianist as she attempts to perform music designed to be impossible to play. In “Smaller Tragedies,” a conflicted photographer documents the aftermath of an earthquake, while in “Dentists,” a young man watches his neighbors flee under cover of night, fearful of the country-wide escalation of hate-based violence.
“He had walked around the far edge of the produce truck from the other side of the wreck, and was approaching her. He was not screaming, but he was not swaying his arms as he walked either. A thin line of dried blood went from his hair past his ear and down his neck. There is something about a person who is in true need of help, something that creates a beacon, even if they say nothing.”
152 pp., 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
ISBN 978-1-946724-03-8 (pbk)
ISBN 978-1-946724-08-3 (e-book)