John Henry Fleming - Songs for the Deaf & Vanessa Blakeslee - Train Shots
A little desert town gets a sexual charge from a crash-landed alien. A dysfunctional family tries to summit Everest with “discount Sherpas” and yakloads of emotional baggage. A teen messiah emerges from a game of 3-on-3. The stories in John Henry Fleming’s Songs for the Deaf, the first story collection by the “marvelously inventive” and “winningly satiric” author of The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman, put an intimate and modern spin on the American tall tale.
Stories in the collection have appeared in McSweeney’s, North American Review, Atticus Review, 100% Pure Florida Fiction, and elsewhere.
“Songs for the Deaf is a joyful, deranged, endlessly surprising book of stories that defy easy categorization, in addition to the laws of physics (girls “ride air,” aliens plummet from the sky, a basketball-messiah shoots hoops). Fleming’s prose is glorious music; his rhythms will get into your bloodstream, and his images will sink into your dreams. Thank you, Burrow Press, for bringing John Fleming’s radioactively imaginative stories to us.”
- Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove
A single mother rents a fundamentalist preacher’s carriage house. A pop star contemplates suicide in the hotel where Janis Joplin died. A philandering ex-pat doctor gets hooked on morphine while reeling from his wife’s death. And in the title story, a train engineer, after running over a young girl on his tracks, grapples with the pervasive question—what propels a life toward such a disastrous end?
“No one writes this good the first time out, do they? Train Shots is more than a promising first collection by a formidably talented writer; it is a haunting story collection of the first order. I was flat knocked out. Blakeslee’s range and confidence are astonishing. I can’t forget these beguiling and unsparing stories and I don’t want to.”
- John Dufresne, author of No Regrets, Coyote