I recently finished The Peripatetic Coffin, a collection of stories by Ethan Rutherford. Three of the stories are variations on the classical tale of adventure at sea: one is set on a Confederate submarine during the Civil War, another is set on a Russian ship that gets trapped in ice flows while exploring the Arctic, and the third is set on a futuristic whaling ship in a Gulf of Mexico that has been drained of water. The stories are gripping reads, and in each of them, there is an event that the characters must face—a sword dangling over their heads—and the suspense builds as the moment of inevitability approaches.
I have two books on my nightstand. One is Kelly Luce’s debut collection of stories, Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, out from A Strange Object, a new independent press based in Austin. The stories tend toward the fantastic, similar to the work of George Saunders and Karen Russell. I’m also excited to read Tiphanie Yanique’s collection, How to Escape from a Leper Colony. I read the title story the other day at Boston Review and was stunned at how good it was. It’s set in a leper colony that actually existed off the coast of Trinidad. The ending is as good as anything I’ve read in a long time.