This week’s other featured books, “However Long the Day,” by Justin Reed and “Rabbbit Punches,” by Jason Ockert, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.
THE BOOK: Not Dead Yet and Other Stories.
PUBLISHED IN: 2019.
THE AUTHOR: Hadley Moore.
THE EDITOR: Mike Good.
THE PUBLISHER: Autumn House Press, an independent press in Pittsburgh, PA
SUMMARY: Rich in humor and honesty, Not Dead Yet studies the uncertainties of loss, turning a gaze toward the often-silenced voices of the infirm, elderly, and adolescent. These stories’ characters struggle to cope with the deaths of loved ones—as well as with the voids left by the passing of youth, happiness, and fulfillment. Ranging in form and point of view, this startling debut collection offers striking detail as it dives into moments of absurdity and tragedy.
THE BACK STORY: I was writing stories; it didn’t occur to me that I was writing a book until most were drafted and in many cases already published in literary magazines. It was a slow realization, and a happy one, that it seemed not only was I heading for enough volume to fill a book, but that the stories actually belonged together.It took about ten years to finish the collection, but during that time I was working on other things too, and these stories were written in fits and starts. Sometimes projects come together in pieces like that, and it’s OK to be patient and wait for the whole shape to reveal itself.
WHY THIS TITLE? The short answer is that it’s the title of one of the stories in the book. That story happened to be the last one I wrote and it felt like a lynchpin to me, providing enough material to round out the collection and also a title I thought suited the work as a whole, as these stories all grapple with loss and coping (whether well or poorly) in some way.
It’s also a phrase I repeated to myself for years as encouragement—strange as that may sound—before I put it in a character’s mouth for an entirely different reason.
And, well, everyone can relate, right? It’s the state of all of us currently living.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? The stories are strange and unexpected, and some are funny. As a reader, I love to be surprised, and I love juxtapositions like those of humor and tragedy.
REVIEW COMMENTS: “[H]umor can be found throughout… in the beautiful and empathetic human moments Moore is attuned to…. In this exceptional debut collection, Moore gives the reader a cast of characters united in indecision, bound together by the mundane strangeness of their circumstances.” —Katie Sticca, in Salamander magazine
“[Hadley Moore’s] characters are penetrating reminders that life is full of endless chances, missed opportunities, and grace. Moore’s insight and compassion are the triumphs of this collection, signaling the arrival of a brilliant writer.” —Dana Johnson, author of In the Not Quite Dark
“These are grown-up stories that unsettle as they surprise. They are smart and funny and filled with calamity, consequence, and those slight shifts in awareness that constitute, for those lucky enough to encounter them, growth. I can’t remember when I last read such an engaging and rewarding debut.” —Michael Parker, author of Prairie Fever
“This electrifying collection of nine stories stunned me—each story is so differently alive. The whole collection abounds in a love of language, and I felt throughout the total pleasure of watching an attentive, sometimes reckless, big-hearted, intelligent, and masterful storyteller work her way through endlessly interesting territory.” —Rebecca Lee, author of Bobcat and Other Stories.
AUTHOR PROFILE: I am a late bloomer, writing-wise, and I came to fiction writing after a period focused on nonfiction, which included earning a master’s degree in journalism. But I found myself longing for more story space than short articles and essays would allow, and longing also, frankly, for the freedom to make things up. Now I consider fiction to be my literary home.
Writing fiction is one of the major ways that my brain works, and this interacts with other ways my brain works, such as trying to cope with the absurd fact that we are all going to die. I am skeptical of the idea of art as therapy, or anything as therapy, really; therapy is for therapy, art is for art. But one of the purposes of art, I think, and one of the things I’m after, is to examine the world in all its difficulty and to try to make something beautiful precisely out of that examination, that deep attention.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I am genuinely interested in what happens when we face difficulty unblinkingly and see what can be made out of it. And sometimes the only thing to do is notice when beauty appears, though it may rise through all manner of muck and dreck, and try to wrest something lovely from the chaos and pain the world gives us.
So, it is astonishing but also absolutely right and fitting that art allows us to make something beautiful out of the suffering of the world. I suppose if I had to declare my philosophy of art, that’s as good as any.
SAMPLE: There are samples, both text and audio, on Amazon (look at them there, and then buy elsewhere!), and there are also links to earlier versions of some stories on my website: https://www.hadleymoore.net/disc.htm.
LOCAL OUTLETS: I encourage people to order directly from the press and support independent publishing: https://cdcshoppingcart.uchicago.edu/Cart2/ChicagoBook?ISBN=9781938769412&PRESS=ahp.
It’s also so helpful to authors to ask your local library systems to buy our books!
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Ask for it from your favorite independent bookstore, or order from Bookshop, IndieBound, or Powell’s. (Of course, it is also available from Barnes & Noble or Amazon, but please consider an independent bookseller!)
PRICE: $17.95 (print) Also available as an e-book or an audio book.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Please see my website: https://www.hadleymoore.net/.