Stephen March

Love to the Spirits

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Presenting a diverse range of authentic characters, the sixteen stories in Love to the Spirits are unified by a common theme: the characters' efforts to complete perilous passages in their lives across a span of ice dangerously thin. The collection opens with Jenna, an endearing twelve-year-old girl learning to hustle pool from her grandfather in West Texas, and ends with two feuding brothers in a rickety airplane off North Carolina's Outer Banks spreading their mother's ashes over the water. In between, we meet a gravedigger baffled by a body that mysteriously resurfaces after storms and a dying con man who sells his "services" — a promise to convey messages to departed loved ones — to the residents of a nursing home. A bus driver is terrorized by an armed hijacker. A musician with a stolen mule seeks refuge in his estranged wife's back yard. A hungry child draws strength from the power of a family story relating how his great-grandfather survived being adraft at sea. Although the stories are told in a variety of voices, they all illuminate people in moments of crisis and transition, who make their journeys with subtle, often comic, grace.

Praise for Love to the Spirits

"This fine author does not, and maybe cannot, pull his punches. What an admirable book!" — Fred Chappell, author of I Am One of You Forever and stories included in Best American Short Stories

Stephen March is a novelist, short story writer, and songwriter whose work is set in the American South. His published books include Armadillo, a novella; Love to the Spirits, a short story collection; Catbird, a novel; and Strangers in the Land of Egypt, a novel published in May, 2009 by Permanent Press (New York). Armadillo won the Texas Review Press Prize in the Novella. Love to the Spirits won the Independent Publisher Award for Short Fiction 2005, and Catbird was chosen as a Book Sense Notable by the American Booksellers Association.

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