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Pam Durban
Foreword by Mary Hood

A collection of stories encompassing love, loss, and the healing power of storytelling

"We all have our stories, don't we? . . . There's what happens, and there's what you make of what happens; the story you tell, so you can take it."—from "The Jap Room"

Pam Durban's new collection of stories explores the myriad ways people lose, find, and hold on to one another. When all else fails her characters—science, religion, family, self—the powerful act of storytelling itself keeps their broken lives together and fosters hope. Each story in this rewarding and multifaceted collection introduces people who yearn for better lives and find themselves entangled in the hopes and dreams that heal and bind us all.

The title story in Soon—chosen by John Updike for The Best American Short Stories of the Century anthology—follows two generations of a family whose lives are driven by the "patient and brutal need that people called hope, which . . . formed from your present life a future where you would be healed or loved." In "The Jap Room," winner of the 2008 Goodheart Prize, a woman tries to help her husband, a World War II veteran, finally come home. "Rowing to Darien" introduces a famous English actress as she rows away from her husband's rice plantation. In "Hush" a gravely ill man encounters himself in the darkness of Kentucky's iconic Mammoth Cave. An adopted child waits for his mother to come back for him in "Birth Mother," and, in "Forward, Elsewhere, Out," a mother must come to terms with her adolescent son's sexuality. The stories in this collection deftly broach universal themes of love, loss, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

The collection includes a foreword from novelist and short story writer Mary Hood, winner of the Flannery O'Connor Prize, Townsend Prize, and Lillian Smith Award.

Pam Durban is the author of the novels The Laughing Place (winner of the Townsend Prize), So Far Back (winner of the Lillian Smith Award), and The Tree of Forgetfulness and the short story collection All Set About with Fever Trees. Her short fiction has been published in Georgia Review, Tri-Quarterly, Southern Review, Shenandoah, Crazyhorse, Epoch, New Virginia Review, Ohio Review, and elsewhere. Durban has received a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award as well as a James Michener Creative Writing Fellowship from the University of Iowa. With former Georgia poet laureate David Bottoms, she is founding coeditor of Five Points literary magazine. A native of Aiken, South Carolina, she is the Doris Betts Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"I recommend Pam Durban's wise and gorgeously-crafted second collection of stories, Soon. In each story, someone or something is clinging to something, which in most cases reduces the richness of present life.... These stories are ripe for soul-bearing discussion."—Dannye Romine Powell, Charlotte Observer

"The stories in Soon all share an awareness of the fragility of life and the intricate web of past loves and memories held within. On surface the large situations are simple: death, divorce, a child's rebellion, and yet, the weaving process of all that has fed these lives is complex and beautifully represents the particles of everyday life. In elegant prose, Durban explores these moments of transition and loss with great wisdom and compassion."—Jill McCorkle

"Pam Durban writes with such deep and abiding empathy that we never doubt her characters' voices, thoughts, or hearts, whether in the pre–Civil War South or more contemporary settings. Yet what makes these stories equally unforgettable is the beauty of her language. To have this wonderful new collection Soon in print is cause for celebration."—Ron Rash

"Pam Durban's Soon will add great substance to the growing awareness of her being one of America's finest writers. In this new book of short stories, her talent is on full display and I was reminded of Lorrie Moore, Ann Patchett, and Ron Rash. I would call Durban first-rate but I believe that she is far, far better than that."—Pat Conroy



book jacket for Soon


6 x 8½
136 pages
ISBN 978-1-61117-533-2
hardcover, $22.95t

ISBN 978-1-61117-534-9
ebook, $19.99t
Story River Books
An Excerpt from Soon: Stories is available as an ebook here.

2015 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, North Carolina Literary and Historical Association

2015 Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year, Finalist for Short Stories

2016 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Prince of Tides Literary Prize, Longlist Finalist


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