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The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories by…
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The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories

by Ethan Rutherford

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These are unsettling stories, some featuring the disenfranchised, some historical in nature (or both), and some about people with comfortable lives, at least until bad things happen to them. Ethan Rutherford also likes to tell nautical tales where disaster is pre-ordained.

In the title story a demoralized yet eager Confederate States of America submarine crew attempts to strike a blow for the confederacy during a war that is all but lost. ”We sat back, dumfounded, and familiarized ourselves with new definitions of inadequacy.”

“Camp Winnesaka” captures the black humor of George Saunders in a summer camp gone amok. “People – cynics – will tell you facts are essential. But facts can be misleading.”
In the uncomfortable “John, For Christmas” a manipulative adult son makes his parent’s life one of constant unease.

In “A Mugging” the humiliation of the act drives a wedge between an otherwise solid couple. “Dirwhals!” is the narrative of a futuristic whale-hunting expedition, complete with radical environmentalists, in a world where the Gulf of Mexico is now a desert and steel shipper-tanks troll the dry sand hunting Dirwhals as a source of energy. ( )
  Hagelstein | Sep 3, 2015 |
Rutherford can be staggeringly good, especially when focused on dark comedy, but his heavy repetition of awful circumstances and characters suffering from PTSD might make readers feel trapped as well.
added by karenb | editTime Out Chicago, Josh Davis (May 20, 2013)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062203835, Paperback)

The stories in The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories, a collection from Ethan Rutherford, map the surprising ways in which the world we think we know can unexpectedly reveal its darker contours.

In stories that are alternately funny, persuasive, and compelling, unforgettable characters are confronted with, and battle against, the limitations of their lives.

Rutherford’s work has been selected by Alice Sebold for inclusion in the volume of The Best American Short Stories that she edited, and also published in Ploughshares, One Story, and American Short Fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:10 -0400)

Eight short stories focus on reality as it is known and as it could be and star characters who are confronted with, and battle against, the limitations of their lives.

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