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What We Build Upon the Ruins
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What We Build Upon the Ruins

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4.60  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Like an arrowhead, the title story in this collection pierces through our tough skin and through to what’s delicate within. It’s the first piece in a triptych that elegantly holds together this stunning collection about love and loss and longing—our feeble human institutions and fragile relationships broken down and rusting; our tender hearts shot through with tragedy and ...more
Paperback, 162 pages
Published November 2017 by Tortoise Books
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Lori
Giano Cromley's collection of short stories is one that will speak to every reader's heart. I'm thrilled to be working with him to help promote it! If you're interested in picking up a review copy (mobi, epub, pdf), hit me up here!
Steph Post
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous literary collection. Cromley's stories, centering on themes of grief and loss, but also rebirth, family and coming of age, are captivating to the point that I wanted each of them to be developed into a novel all on their own. Cromley has a knack for using small moments to bring characters brightly to life and to play on a reader's emotions in subtle and unpredictable ways. A highly recommended short story collection.
Monika
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm already a fan of short stories, but this collection in particular stands out above so many I've read. Not only was I fully engrossed in every single story (I read the book straight through!) but the stories are laid out in a thoughtful, almost meditative, way. One family's story returns throughout the collection, continuing on and ahead as best they can, just as all of the book's characters do.

These are people stories. Stories about families. Their conflicts and their tragedies, how they wor
...more
Ben
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read it. And blurbed it, yo.

"Life isn't fair. This thought kept occurring to me with every story I consumed in Giano Cromley's lively new collection What We Build Upon the Ruins. In these stories, nothing is fair, not life, not death, not family, not nothing. All these characters can do is try to be okay, and what Cromley illustrates for us with his dexterous prose, is that if they keep fighting, and keep bleeding, and keep trying to feel something, anything, maybe they can be."
Ben Arzate
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Full Review

I could probably talk at length about every story in this collection. Every story here in entertaining yet melancholic, avoids sentimentality, and the characters are painfully, tragically real. Cromley's prose is simple and unpretentious, yet never boring. I think I can safely say that this now one of my favorite short story collections. Very highly recommended.
Janielle
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An incredible collection of short stories that are both riveting and gut wrenching. Cromley knows humans, he knows every bit of them. His insight into humanity is honest and real. Instead of doing a marathon on Netflix, read this collection. You will chuckle, tear up a bit, laugh out loud, be hurt, and still be filled with hope. Definitely worth the all-nighter.
Steve Karas
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Cromley is a great storyteller. While he takes on some difficult themes here, like death and fractured relationships and shitty parenting, there's something about the tone and small town-feel of the stories and Cromley's steady voice that's really comforting. Like an arm around your back as you navigate through these worlds, a big heavy quilt.
Selcouth  Station
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
When we think of ruins, we think of things past. We imagine crumbling architecture or the after-village of an earthquake’s re-modelling. We think static, something we can only clean up and build upon. However, in Cromley’s ‘What We Build Upon Ruins’, the ruins are still in a state of mid-crumble. They are human shaped, moving from place to place searching for ways to rebuild themselves and prevent their ultimate ruin. An all-male cast of protagonists find themselves in failing marriages, dead-en ...more
Tethered Letters
Read Amanda Farbanish's book review of What We Build Upon the Ruins: https://tetheredbyletters.com/book-re...
Diane Lefer
Talk about delayed gratification. I meant to read these stories when the collection first came out but it's taken me till now and yes, I am well and truly gratified. These are definitely "guy" stories, which usually don't resonate with me, but in Cromley's hands the men and boys are fully realized--not just in their bafflement--but all their tenderness and ache. I also loved it that the children manifest more wisdom than the adults. I needed evidence of that right now - faith in the new generati ...more
Sarah
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Reviewed for the Missoula Independent.
Darrin Doyle
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A smart and well-crafted collection that's just damn fun to read. The stories are compelling, funny, sad, relatable, and complex. Can't wait to see what Cromley writes next.
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I was born in Montana and grew up in the shadows of the Beartooth Mountain Range. For my undergraduate studies, I went to Dartmouth College, majoring in literature and creative writing. My first port of call after college was Washington, DC, where I started off answering phones and ended up working as a speech-writer and deputy press secretary for U.S. Senator Max Baucus. After four years of the p ...more