Valparaiso, Round the Horn by Madeline ffitch
ISBN 13: 978-0-9906020-0-2
Released in March 2015
The short stories of acclaimed playwright Madeline ffitch speak for themselves, loudly and clearly. ffitch is a fearless writer, and these 11 stories seem both magical and tethered to their rural landscapes. Here you’ll find a passionate scientist studying a forgotten species of Mud Turtle, a janitor who brings up his daughter in the basement of her middle school, a construction worker who actually minds where he pees … and a whole lot more. Throughout, you’ll be astonished and engaged by the colloquial fluency of her prose, the honesty of her piquant characters, and the intriguing and earthy backdrops that ground everything in this imaginative world.
|8.25 × 5 × 1 in
“ffitch’s real strength as a story teller is in her ability to surprise the reader. Whether it’s a startling description that makes perfect sense- “My dad touched his face, and felt tenderness, and felt the color blue”- or an abrupt twist ending, such as in “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” ffitch always keeps the reader guessing and entertained. At times, this abruptness can be shocking and unfulfilling. A few of the stories in the collection end suddenly after a long meander and left me wondering. I always felt as though I could trust ffitch, though. I might not have enjoyed the jolt endings, but I had the sense that ffitch was steering me along with purpose.” —Steph Prost @ Small Press Book Review “The stories here are less interested in getting to a gut-punch of a last line than presenting in their telling the feeling of adventure itself, the yearning that drives one to it, and the forging of an iron will that results in the end. Her desire, I think, is to make the myth she wants to see in America, exemplary of a liberal individualism, where all are free to make their way and find a corner in the world’s crags, without harm to others. Here guns are fired, often, but never at another human being.”—Brian Nicholson @ Bookslut “I tend to think not about myself as a writer, but about myself as a reader. As a reader, I care about resonance, but I do not want to be related to. I want to be transported, astonished, and convinced.” —Madeline ffitch with Steph Prost “I am interested in making stories that acknowledge vitality, that reject the cultural paradigm of the modern malaise. I believe there are other true stories to be told than stories of disconnection, isolations, jadedness, and boredom. I want to confront the assumption that disconnection is what we have to write about, and the only other option is to have a story where people are stupidly “happy” or something. I don’t think that deep sadness comes from being disconnected. I think it comes from being connected. And what seems more true to me is how connected people are, how relentlessly involved and passionate people are. That’s why we can’t get away from each other, and that’s what we love and what we hate, and that’s what’s so difficult, and that’s what breaks our hearts.” —Madeline with Thomas Calder of The Collagist