Nathan Ballingrud's Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection is a shattering and luminous experience not to be missed by those who love to explore the darker parts of the human psyche. Monsters, real and imagined, external and internal, are the subject. They are us and we are them and Ballingrud's intense focus makes these stories incredibly intense and irresistible.
These are love stories. And also monster stories. Sometimes these are monsters in their traditional guises, sometimes they wear the faces of parents, lovers, or ourselves. The often working-class people in these stories are driven to extremes by love. Sometimes, they are ruined; sometimes redeemed. All are faced with the loneliest corners of themselves and strive to find an escape.
Nathan Ballingrud was born in Massachusetts but has spent most of his life in the South. He worked as a bartender in New Orleans and New York City and a cook on offshore oil rigs. His story “The Monsters of Heaven” won the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his daughter.