This collection of stories by award-winning writer Jane Ciabattari introduces a strong, original voice with a wide-ranging understanding of human nature. In fierce lyrical language, she explores the aftershocks of life changes--the loss of a father, a husband, an unborn child, an all-consuming job--and the illuminations that make hope possible. In the title story, a young writer whose father was dubbed "the psychedelic Rimbaud," struggles to absorb his death and to find her own voice while resisting the pull of addiction in her own blood. In "A Pilgrimage," a fifty-year-old widow undertakes a mission of mercy to El Salvador, with tragic repercussions. "Gridlock" is a comic tale of New York City in which a feisty Irish-American actress and her Cuban-born actor husband hit a dreaded cool spot in their marriage--and a rent-controlled apartment becomes the fulcrum for renewed passion.
"Once in a Blue Moon" follows Liza, a management consultant on vacation, as she happens upon an old love performing at a Montreal blues festival and faces all she left behind when she turned her back on her rebellious youth. In "Payback Time," Joshua learns tough lessons at work. "Memorial Day" shows a couple with a troubled son the savage side of nature. In the award-winning "Wintering at Montauk," Stanley turns thirty and follows a perverse impulse to withdraw into his parents' summer home in the offseason to ride out a string of failures. Set in the San Francisco Bay Area, El Salvador, New York City, Montreal and Montauk, the haunting stories in Stealing the Fire throb with the joys and pains of real life.