The Owl That Carries Us Away (Paperback)


By Doug Ramspeck

BkMk Press of the University of Missouri-Kans, 9781943491131, 184pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2018

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


These twenty-nine stories explore coming of age largely in the contemporary Midwest, but they echo such primal struggles as mortality, the hunt, growing up with parents who face desperation, and just-out-of-reach dreams for the future.

A young boy finds a possum skull and brings it home as compensation for a family tragedy; a newly-married woman imagines that mushrooms are growing from her husband's body; and a woman who absconds with her sister's baby envisions a life for them in Florida. Ramspeck never flinches as his characters confront violence, cruelty, love, and tragedy in ways that are as surprising as they are unsentimental.

"What Ramspeck succeeds in here is to show us, in poignant, lyrical, but never fussy prose, what everyday fortitude looks like, what it's like to look hardship straight in its eye and keep pressing on," writes Michael Griffith, author of Trophy and Bibliophilia, in his advance praise for the book.

Novelist and short-story writer Billy Lombardo selected the book for the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. "Ramspeck creates a silence so thick, you flinch to hear dialogue. What isn't silent, is snow-muffled, and what snow there is, is blood-spotted," writes Lombardo in his foreword.