Synopses & Reviews
The vast, unsettling landscape of the American Southwest is as much a character in Ryan Harty's debut collection, Bring Me Your Saddest Arizona, as are the men and women who inhabit its award-winning stories. In eight vivid tales of real life in the West, Harty reminds us that life's greatest challenge may be to find the fine balance between desire and obligation. A high school football player must make a choice between family and friends when his older brother commits an act of senseless violence. A middle-aged man must fly to Las Vegas to settle his dead sister's estate, only to discover that he must first confront his guilt over his sister's death. A young teacher tries to help a homeless girl but, as their lives intertwine, he begins to understand that his generosity is motivated by his own relenting sense of loneliness. Well intentioned but ultimately human, the characters in these stories often fall short of achieving grace. But the possibility of redemption, like the Sonoran Desert at the edge of Bring Me Your Saddest Arizona's suburban landscapes, is never far off. Harty's characters are as complicated as the people we know, and his vision of life in the West is as hopeful as it is strikingly real.
If there is such a thing as irresistible sadness, this collection possesses it; already, having finished it, I am nostalgic for this book. These stories are troublingly beautiful in the way the desert is, and will be about as easily forgotten. Elizabeth Tallent, author of Honey
The desert exists as blazing limbo in Ryan Harty's Bring Me Your Saddest Arizona. Boys and women drive out of their abandoned pasts to see Phoenix glow like a revelation at the end of a highway. From Tumac to Tumacacori, along Toneleo Boulevard and Indian School Road, siblings as beautiful as movie stars go to war or disappear, heroes lose their way, and petty criminals reveal themselves in telling gestures of grace. Harty's southwestern, dark edge of suburbia characters are so believable we feel we know them. . . . Bring Me Your Saddest Arizona reveals a New West both haunted and shining, and Ryan Harty's quiet, cumulatively powerful voice, true in every detail and poignant tone, is unforgettable. Jayne Ann Phillips
This debut collection features real people confronting fear, desire, and the demands of relationships.