These are stories of hope amid the Zoloft and bar tabs that cushion our crumbling lives.
With Charactered Pieces, Caleb J. Ross presents a varied world of familial discord, one where a dead fetus evokes more compassion than its mother (“Charactered Pieces”); where two brothers offer the destruction of a family legacy as a birthday gift for their aging father (“My Family’s Rule”); where one brother’s love of Holocaust documentaries pushes his family through the aftermath of his assumed suicide (“The Camp”).
Charactered Pieces peels away the superficial armor of public life to reveal the flaws beneath and treats those perceived weaknesses not as hidden sources of pain but as reasons to celebrate life.
“Evoking a novel by Chuck Palahniuk or a film by Darren Aronofsky, Charactered Pieces is a multifarious patchwork of despair. From the misshapen protagonist of the title story to the gruesome climax of “The Camel of Morocco,” this collection is among the most profound and disturbing artifacts of our time.”
-Daniel Casebeer, editor of Pear Noir!
“Ross claims that his characters are not drawn from real people and yet these stories—about a jewelry saleswoman with a fetal leg growing out of her belly, a man who drinks the blood of a dead camel, or a budding Holocaust documentarian who dies in a mysterious incident involving a coat hanger—sound eerily similar to my own life. Chances are you’ll find yourself in here, too. Wicked, weird, and wonderful.”
“These stories change you, and not just a little bit. Try to forget them, tell yourself they’re not true, but it’s no use. Whether you want them to or not, they’re going with you.”
-Stephen Graham Jones, author of
Demon Theory (MacAdam/Cage) and Ledfeather (FC2)