University of Hartford Professor of English, T Stores, has published her fourth book, Frost Heaves, a collection of short fiction, with Green Writers Press. The public launch of the book is on Friday, July 27, from 2-3 p.m. at St. James Parish Hall, during the Bookstock Literary Festival in Woodstock, Vermont. T will read from and sign copies of her book, joining more than 40 writers from around the world, including Pulitzer Prize nominee Cornelius Eady, National Poetry Series winner GennaRose Nethercott, four-time National Poetry Slam champion Patricia Smith, former United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Richard Russo.
The stories in Frost Heaves explore individual human connections to nature and community. Set in Southern Vermont, a physically harsh and rural environment paradoxically within a few hours’ drive of the urban centers of Boston and New York, the collection is shaped by the epithet—a quote from Albert Einstein—with which it opens: “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.” The eclectic mix of characters in Frost Heaves—traditional Yankee farmers, transplanted Manhattanites, the children of hippies who established communes in the late 1960s, lesbian alpaca breeders, suburban skiers from Connecticut, leaf peepers, international students, hunters, loggers, idealists and conservatives—are forced by proximity to interact, to negotiate community, and to confront the realities of their own individual strengths and weaknesses.
Susan Muaddi Darraj, recipient of the 2014 AWP Grace Paley Award and a 2016 American Book Award Winner for Curious Stranger: Stories from Home, says “Even as they document life in rural Vermont, which is quiet on the surface, the stories in Frost Heaves pulse with everyday tragedies, excavating pain and sadness, but also much that is beautiful. A gorgeous collection.” Ron Tanner, author of A Bed of Nails, winner of the first annual G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction (BkMk Press), Missile Paradise, From Animal House to Our House, and Kiss Me, Stranger, writes “Stores shows expertise in these stories, which range widely, demonstrating that she can convincingly inhabit lives that are young, old, straight, gay, male, female, expansive, constricting, joyful, or mournful. Each of these stories is distinctly different and each compelling in its way. I could not ask more of writer.”
Frost Heaves is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and most bookstores. T Stores will read from Frost Heaves at the University of Hartford in November.