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ISBN: 978-1-62557-832-7

More Enduring for Having Been Broken

Publication Date: January 2021

About

A carnivorous ferris wheel, exploding chickens, a theme park that’s home to a god, and a centuries-old Spanish ship found in the Texas hill country. More Enduring for Having been Broken includes stories of children abandoned, forgotten, and ignored, their trauma and the desperate need to survive it. Whether it’s living in a rusted stingray above a tourist shop in coastal Florida, feeding faces to monstrous catfish in the bayou, maintaining a derelict and fog-shrouded hotel in South America, or escaping through the labyrinthine caves of Crete, the boys and girls in this collection weather their aloneness in a world touched by the strange and fantastical.

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Excerpt from “Amarna”

I live in a god’s city, but apparently, it’s the wrong god. Mother says it’s blasphemy to be here, and that god lives in churches, but father says god lives wherever he damn well pleases and if mother hasn’t actually met him, maybe his vacation home just happens to be the place we take care of. This place is Amarna, and it’s falling apart. Down, rather. I guess apart makes it sound like it’s coming undone.

It’s okay though that Amarna looks weathered, because it was built to look old. I tell the tourists that the city has stood for 3,346 years, but really, it’s only been eleven. Father completed it the year I was born, and when I tell the tourists that the city is on the bank of the Nile river, I have to ignore the BillyBurger sign that’s eight feet taller than our wall and whisper to them that this year the advisor has predicted the river will rise higher than normal and there’s a chance the city might flood. The tourists drink out of plastic water bottles and smile politely. They feel sorry for the boy who’s also a tour guide and they know, just as much as I do, that the only river Amarna is near is I-37 and that the bellows of the hippos I point out are actually honking car horns. I don’t blame them for not believing. God appears only at sunrise and we don’t even open until ten.

Praise

Gwen Paradice’s end-of-the world stories celebrate our collective last gasp with a mixture of beauty and absurdity.  In these confident, clear-eyed tales, young protagonists face the end times with a stoic courage: the orphan who sees his lost family in the architecture of a crab colony, the pre-teen oracle who gives up her protected status to run away with the sacred cow, the servant girl who feeds women’s discarded faces to a school of catfish. In the absence of tradition or authority, there is special warmth emanating from sibling and near-sibling relations. And in the midst of devolution, there is deep engagement with nature in its myriad forms. Throughout, Paradice calls us to witness the surreal spectacle of our own decline, depicting the Wheel of Fortune as a manic Ferris wheel, then a monstrous carnivorous plant imprisoning passengers in its pods.

—Trudy Lewis, author of The Empire Rolls and The Bones of Garbo

Within imitation Egyptian palaces, haunted cardboard houses, and souvenir shop rooftops, Paradice’s characters learn to live within broken worlds, broken families, and broken homes. Focusing on adolescence, More Enduring for Having Been Broken asks the question: What happens when, left to the mercy and whims of adults, children are forced to grow up too quickly? They become boys and girls who would rather live in the past  than the present. If you have ever failed and been broken, if you have ever tried to peel off layers of yourself to feed the wolves, then this is the book for you. You too will realize how close enduring looks and sounds like endearing and not be able to leave Paradice’s characters on the page.  

—Kara Dorris, author of When the Body is a Guardrail and Have Ruin, Will Travel

These inventive stories have the earnest charm of a B movie. From teenage debauchery at a summer camp, to a heart-rending tale about two siblings who build a safehouse within a haunted house after their father’s death, to a boy’s struggle to hold his family together while working at their ancient-Egyptian-themed roadside attraction, these stories announce the arrival of a talented new author who is at her best when finding the empathetic heart of an urban legend reimagined. 

—Theodore Wheeler, author of In Our Other Lives

About the Author

© KatFour Photo

Gwendolyn Paradice

Gwendolyn Paradice is hearing impaired, queer, and a member of the Cherokee Nation. Her writing has earned nominations for both the Pushcart and Best American Essays, and her nonfiction, fiction, and poetry have appeared in Assay, Crab Orchard Review, Brevity, Fourth River, Booth, and others. She retains a MA in Nonfiction from the University of North Texas, an MFA from Bennington College, and is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Missouri, where she lives with her partner. When she’s not weightlifting, playing video games, or trying to read all the books she’s amassed, she writes speculative fiction, nontraditional nonfiction, and bends genre.

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