A collection of stories that trace the threads of loss and displacement running through all our lives, by the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Theory of Light and Matter
A husband and wife hear a mysterious bump in the night. A father mourns the closeness he has lost with his son. A friendship with a married couple turns into a dangerous codependency. With gorgeous sensitivity, assurance, and a propulsive sense of menace, these stories center on disappearances both literal and figurative—lives and loves that are cut short, the vanishing of one's youthful self. From San Antonio to Austin, from the clamor of a crowded restaurant to the cigarette at a lonely kitchen table, Andrew Porter captures each of these relationships mid-flight, every individual life punctuated by loss and beauty and need. The Disappeared reaffirms the undeniable artistry of a contemporary master of the form.
About the Author
ANDREW PORTER is the author of the story collection The Theory of Light and Matter and the novel In Between Days. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has received a Pushcart Prize, a James Michener/Copernicus Fellowship, and the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. His work has appeared in One Story, The Threepenny Review, Ploughshares, Narrative, The Southern Review, and on Public Radio’s Selected Shorts. Currently, he teaches fiction writing and directs the creative writing program at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
“A great paradox sits at the heart of Andrew Porter’s excellent new story collection: How can we seem so firmly and comfortably settled in our lives, and yet be so utterly, desperately lost? Porter has a rare feel for the emotions that reveal our truest selves, and for the weight of the doubts, regrets and memories that pile up as the years go by. Love, loss, defeats large and small, these are all rendered to haunting effect in The Disappeared, and it’s a testament to Porter’s brilliant writing that these gorgeous, gutting stories haunt me still.” —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
“Let me phrase this as a question: Is there an American writer who writes such exquisite, heartbreaking and achingly memorable stories as Andrew Porter? I can’t name one. I’ll have The Disappeared with me, as I’ll have The Theory of Light and Matter—for the duration.” —Peter Orner, author of Esther Stories
“These tremendously moving, elegant, neo-Cheeveresque gems are fantastic. Too much wine, too much love, too much marriage, too many misunderstandings—all of it makes for deeply perfect reading.” —Deb Olin Unferth, author of Barn 8
“These tender, touching stories are about things we hold onto, our anxieties and hopes and dreams, and the things that slip through our fingers—love, youth, the people we used to be. What a beautiful book about the profound mystery of ordinary life.” —Alix Ohlin, author of Dual Citizens
“Read this excellent collection and you’ll come away convinced that the secret subject of all writing is time. Certainly it’s the oldest, a little older than love itself, and in Andrew Porter’s supple vision time is our most intimate antagonist, our lover and our foe. It’s time that turns a passing doubt into a haunted house, time that makes of our most cherished hopes an echo chamber of losses, time that breaks even the strongest hearts. And yet without time and our suffering we would have no soul, and these stories have soul to spare. Italo Calvino claims a classic never finishes saying what it has to say, and by that measure The Disappeared is classic.” —Charles D’Ambrosio, author of The Dead Fish Museum