Once the mighty superhero Commander Invincible, thirty-nine-year-old Vincent Shepherd now faces new enemies: downsizing, a second divorce, and the strains of fatherhood. Decades ago, Vince made a living fighting supervillains, huge irradiated insects, and androids armed with death rays. But when the good guys won the war, heroes like Vince grew obsolete. Certain that his younger wife is starting to find their marriage as frivolous as his old cape, Vince embarks on a scheme to reestablish himself not only as a superhero, but as a super dad and a super husband. Confronting former allies with long-buried secrets, he must also battle the same demons we all encounter: doubt, regret, loss, and failure. The Midlife Crisis of Commander Invincible turns a literary lens onto the world of comic book fantasy to reveal the changes and challenges of simply being human.
As a teen, Neil Connelly worked at Beachhead Comics in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Later he directed McNeese State University’s MFA program in Creative Writing. He now teaches at Shippensburg University and lives with his wife and their two sons. His website is www.neilconnelly.com.
Praise for Neil Connelly
“Delivers an endearing mix of self-effacement, wonder, warmth, downtrodden despair, and fury that’s both comic and chilling.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A sweet, intoxicating buffer of magic and apocalypse. . . . The writing quietly sure, the course of true love meandering through its pages.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A comic romp with a darker side. . . . Crafty, magical, utterly enjoyable.”—Publishers Weekly
248 pages, 6 x 9
“A book of short stories is not usually what you would call a page turner, but Cary Holladay’s Horse People may be an exception. You gallop along breathlessly—not because you are aiming for the finish line, but because the writing is so wonderful you keep going, enthralled, never wanting this gorgeous prose to end.” —Bobbie Ann Mason, author of Shiloh and The Girl in the Blue Beret
Set in the pastoral horse country of Rapidan, Virginia, the stories in Cary Holladay’s Horse People chronicle the lives of the Fenton family through the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II. At the center of these interconnected stories is Nelle, a northern debutante who marries into the Fenton family and establishes herself as their stern and combative matriarch.
Nelle’s arrival in Virginia sets up the familial conflict: The Fentons, though well-respected millers and horse-breeders, remain yeoman farmers, whereas Nelle grew up in a wealthy, urban environment. Her high-brow sensibility creates animosity within her new family and fosters resentment among the rural poor. Headstrong and contentious, Nelle relies on an almost supernatural connection with horses to escape the hostility that surrounds her. As Nelle ages and experiences the sweeping cultural changes and hardships of early twentieth-century America, she comes to symbolize everything she once challenged in this community. Through these multi-generational stories, Holladay draws on the folklore and history of her native Virginia and examines the cultural, racial, gender, and economic tensions that pervaded the entire nation.
Cary Holladay is the author of two novels and three story collections. Her writing has appeared in New Stories from the South, The Oxford American, The Southern Review, Glimmer Train, and Tin House. She has received fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the NEA. She and her husband, writer John Bensko, teach at the University of Memphis.
February 18, 2013
200 pages, 5.5 x 8.5
In The Tree of Forgetfulness, Pam Durban, winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award, continues her exploration of southern history and memory. This mesmerizing and disquieting novel recovers the largely untold story of a brutal Jim Crow–era triple lynching in Aiken County, South Carolina. Through the interweaving of several characters’ voices, Durban produces a complex narrative in which each section reveals a different facet of the event. The Tree of Forgetfulness resurrects a troubled past and explores the individual and collective loyalties that led a community to choose silence over justice.
Pam Durban is the author of All Set About with Fever Trees, The Laughing Place, and So Far Back. Her stories and essays have been widely published, and her short story “Soon” was included in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is Doris Betts Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina.
Praise for Pam Durban
“Pam Durban renders her characters and their world with such rich and beautiful complexity that the only fair response to someone asking what it’s about is to press the book into their hands and insist they read it.”—Tommy Hays, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Haunting and irresistible . . . Durban has written a splendid, engrossing, and, above all, deeply thoughtful novel that will linger in readers’ minds long after they close its cover.”— Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Oxford American
“Durban’s carefully managed cast of characters—antebellum aristocrats, slave families and their descendants in the modern South—are drawn with subtle grace, producing a narrative of compelling intensity.”—Publishers Weekly
October 12, 2012
200 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper $23.00, ebook available
Gary M. Ciuba, professor of English at Kent State University, has recently published a groundbreaking study of McCarthy and several other celebrated southern authors titled Desire, Violence, and Divinity in Modern Southern Fiction: Katherine Anne Porter, Flannery O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Walker Percy. In his book, Ciuba explores the roots of violence in southern culture by analyzing protagonist Lester Ballard in McCarthy’s Child of God. Desire, Violence, and Divinity would make the perfect compendium piece for those readers interested in delving deeper into the raw emotions that permeate McCarthy’s fiction.
The Animal Girl: Stories, by John Fulton, has been selected as the third title in LSU Press’s Yellow Shoe Fiction Series. To be published this fall, the stories in The Animal Girl explore the complexity of both mid-life romance and adolescent rage with humor and insight. While the characters in these stories are overwhelmed by grief, they are also forced to accept loss when confronted with the need and desire to connect with those around them. Fulton’s rich and unobtrusive language is just right for conveying the emotional and narrative complexities of these stories.
Yellow Shoe Fiction is an original-fiction series edited by Michael Griffith, author of the novel Spikes and the short-fiction collection Bibliophilia. Griffith was also an editor at the Southern Review literary quarterly for more than a decade and now teaches creative writing at the University of Cincinnati. Regarding the aims of the Yellow Shoe Fiction series, Griffith has said: "I’ll be looking first and foremost for literary excellence, especially for good manuscripts that have fallen through the cracks at the big commercial presses. In today’s publishing world, despite the proliferation of fiction titles in recent years, those cracks seem like yawning crevasses, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to find worthy novels and story collections—whether by new writers on the way to big careers or by critically acclaimed veterans frustrated by New York’s endless hunger for youth and novelty." The first two books in the series are If the Sky Falls: Stories by Nicholas Montemarano and Uke Rivers Delivers: Stories by R. T. Smith.
John Fulton is the author of two books of fiction: Retribution, which won the Southern Review Short Fiction Award and the novel More Than Enough, which was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. He lives with his wife and baby daughter in Boston.