Peter Orner zeroes in on the strange ways our memories define us: A woman’s husband dies before their divorce is finalized; a man runs for governor of Illinois and loses much more than an election; two brothers play beneath the infamous bridge at Chappaquiddick. Employing the masterful compression for which he has been widely praised, Orner presents a kaleidoscope of individual lives viewed in startling, intimate close-up.
Whether writing of Geraldo Rivera’s attempt to reveal the contents of Al Capone’s vault or of a father and daughter trying to outrun a hurricane, Orner illuminates universal themes. In stories that span considerable geographic ground — from Chicago to Wyoming, from Massachusetts to the Czech Republic — he writes of the past we can’t seem to shake, the losses we can’t make up for, and the power of our stories to help us reclaim what we thought was gone forever.
“A ravishing collection, full of wisdom, grief, beauty, and especially surprise.” — Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collectors