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Where There Is Ruin
A beautiful body, found decomposing in the woods; a high school honor's symposium shocked by a suicide; a nest of frozen pigeon eggs, "little orbs the color of bone gone pink": the stories in Sam Snoek-Brown's Where There is Ruin explore these sites of tragedy and others. Rumi wrote, "Where there is ruin, there is hope of treasure"; with unflinching prose and astute charac ...more
Paperback, 52 pages
Published December 7th 2016 by Red Bird Chapbooks
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I really should pause to catch my breath, the breath that reading knocked out of me, but I don't want to risk losing my thoughts before I write a review. The word 'moving' just isn't strong enough here, and I won't even try to find a term for how perfectly chiseled the words are. These stories are all stunning. I keep trying to pick a favorite and I keep trying to pick them all, for different reasons. I hope that says enough, because it'll have to do.
At turns poignant, philosophical, and macabre, there's something for everyone in Sam Snoek-Brown's collection, Where There Is Ruin. Here are five outstanding stories, printed on heavyweight paper, lovingly hand-sewn, and covered back to front with beautiful art (by landscape painter JMW Turner, no less), in a chapbook that is itself a work of art. All five stories are winners, though I lean toward favoring three: "Lightning My Plot"(key sentence-- 'It's okay, Mom, I can handle it.'; "The Falling ...more
Samuel Snoek-Brown is the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them (Blue Cactus Press, 2018) as well as the fiction chapbooks Where There Is Ruin (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2016) and Box Cutters (sunnyoutside press, 2013), and the novel Hagridden (Columbus Press, 2014), for which he received a 2013 Oregon Literary Fellowship. When he's not teaching college or writing fiction, ...more