Humans have always connected deeply to the idea of home. In Bryn Chancellor’s nine stories, home means, in part, the physical spaces: the buildings, cities and towns, the fragile, imperious landscapes of the region. But home is also profoundly rooted in intangibles. Set in urban and rural Arizona, home, for the characters in these stories, is love—familial, romantic, and unrequited. It is loss and grief. It is the memories that surface late at night. It is mystery and longing and a shining flicker of hope.
In the title story, a locksmith prowls empty houses and befriends a young mother as he and his wife grapple with a tragedy perpetrated by their son. During an overseas trip, a daughter grieving for her father struggles with her mother’s altered appearance; an irrigation worker meets a troubled teenage girl in the darkness of her flooded yard; and a daughter and her estranged, ailing mother stay in a dilapidated cabin while a mountain lion stalks the woods. Through chance meetings between strangers, collisions within families, and confrontations with the self, characters leave and return, time and again, trying desperately to find their way home.
Bryn Chancellor is an assistant professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her short fiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Phoebe, and elsewhere. She received the Poets and Writers 2014 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award in fiction.