Ethan Rutherford, author of the Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories

Event date: 
Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 6:30pm

Broad in voice and scope, the wonderfully imagined stories collected in Ethan Rutherford’s THE PERIPATETIC COFFIN AND OTHER STORIES mark the debut of an invigorating voice in contemporary fiction. Previously published in Best American Short Stories, One Story, and Ploughshares, among others, Rutherford’s stories light out into territories recognizable and foreign, toggling between two realities, one based in our world, and the other—almost.

In the title story, we meet the beleaguered and unlucky crew of the first Confederate submarine as they mount a doomed mission during the waning days of the Civil War; and, closer to home, in “The Broken Group,” a boy witnesses his father commit an act of horrific violence in a misguided effort to protect him while on vacation. We see a middle-aged couple struggle with the question of what they should do—what they can do—with a far-gone and unstable son returning home for the holidays; and Russian sailors locked in ice in 1913, forced to make the impossible decision of whether to stay aboard or leave their listing ship.

Whether it’s a summer camp with an unusually high rate of camper fatality, a suburban basement where carefree boyhood passes into the murk of adolescence, or a futuristic whaling expedition set against the backdrop of environmental cataclysm, the stories collected here—alternately funny, menacing, and deeply empathetic (and often all three at once)—are singular, stand-alone gems linked as a whole by their attention to the surface of things and what lurks beneath it, to the tension between the visible and the unseen, and to the ways in which the world we think we know can unexpectedly reveal its darker contours.

Ethan Rutherford received his MFA in fiction from the University of Minnesota, and has taught creative writing at Macalester, the University of Minnesota, and the Loft Literary Center. A former bookseller at Three Lives & Co. as well as Magers & Quinn, he lives in Minneapolis, where he is the guitarist for the band Pennyroyal.

Photo credt: Heather Kraft

Event address: 
315 W. Gorham St.
53703-2218 Madison
The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062203830
Availability: Special Order
Published: Ecco Press - May 7th, 2013