In Janice Deal's linked story collection STRANGE ATTRACTORS, everyday people navigate the uncertainties of life in the American heartland, seeking order in chaos with a very human mix of resilience and folly. At first glance, the fictional Ephrem, Illinois, seems a friendly, familiar town: it draws you right in, even if you don't need supplies at the mall or a snack at Brat Station. But as you come closer, you discover people who are complex and unpredictable. Life itself is capricious, and loneliness can turn a person strange. Past traumas linger. Illness sometimes falls like a hammer. Yet there's much affection here, small and large examples of human kindness. For years, Janice Deal has been publishing these award-winning stories about Ephrem. Now assembled for the first time, these extraordinary tales offer a masterful snapshot of life in today's small-town America.
Janice Deal is the author of a novel, THE SOUND OF RABBITS, and a previous story collection, THE DECLINE OF PIGEONS. The former placed as a finalist for both the Many Voices Project annual competition and the Black Lawrence Press Big Moose Prize. THE DECLINE OF PIGEONS was a finalist in the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Stories from her new collection, STRANGE ATTRACTORS, have won THE MOTH Short Story Prize and the CAGIBI Macaron Prize. Janice has also received an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship Award for prose. She lives in the Chicago area.