Synopses & Reviews
The stories in William Lychacks dazzling new collection, The Architect of Flowers, explore the dear and inevitable distance between people in loving relationships and find hope in dark situations. With tiny, precise details, Lychack observes the overlooked moments of everyday life—the small failings between parents and children, the long-held secrets in married life.
A small-town policeman brings himself to shoot a familys injured dog; an old woman secretly trains a crow to steal for her; a hybridizers wife discovers the perfect lie to bring her family magically together again. Lychacks characters yearn to re-enchant the world, to turn the ordinary and profane into the sacred and beautiful again, to make beauty serve as an antidote to grief. From ghostwriter to ghost runners to ghosts in a chapel, these stories are extraordinary portraits of lifes tender humiliations as well as its sharp, rude jolts.
"[Lychak's] pieces cover an impressive range of emotional and imaginative territory... The disciplined storytelling and barbed wit strike a fine balance."
-Kirkus Reviews "In this dazzling collection William Lychak moves with equal ease between fabulism and realism as he conjures up his alluring characters, their troubles and delights. The resulting stories are precise, exhilarating, sometimes wonderfully funny and always beautiful. I love being transported to so many different worlds."
- Margot Livesey, The House on Fortune Street "The Architect of Flowers is a stunning collection. Each story is like a brilliant dream, evanescent, yet managing to linger in all the senses long after the last page has been turned. It is a poetry of narrative rarely ever found in fiction."
- Mary McGarry Morris, The River Queen "Derek Walcott says he writes verse in the hope of writing poetry. Something similar might be said about the fiction in William Lychack's THE ARCHITECT OF FLOWERS. The prose rises to a level of intense lyricism that distinguishes this lovely, artful collection."
- Stuart Dybek, Sailed With Magellan "The small failings between parents and children, the long-held secrets in married lives, the darkening of old age interrupted unexpected flashes of hope: with the hand of a master, William Lychack searches out the ignored moments of ordinary life and burnishes them into treasures. This collection is a treasury. I loved it."
- Vestal McIntyre, You Are Not The One
These 10 short stories explore loss and sacrifice in American suburbia. In idyllic suburbs across the country, narrators struggle to find meaning or value in their lives because of--or in spite of--something that has happened in their pasts.
These ten stories take us across the country—from rural Pennsylvania to Southern California to suburban Connecticut—and deep into characters struggling to find meaning in their day-to-day lives. The Theory of Light and Matter
is a stunningly astute vision of contemporary American suburbia, full of tension, heartbreak, and emotional complexity—the work of an important new voice.
Long Listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year, Short Fiction
One of the Best Books of the Year
Kansas City Star • San Antonio Express-News
A collection of fables and short stories.
About the Author
A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Andrew Porter has received a Pushcart Prize, a James Michener/Copernicus Fellowship, and the W. K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts. His award-winning fiction has appeared in One Story, Epoch, The Threepenny Review, and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. He teaches at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Table of Contents
The Ghostwriter 31
The Architect of Flowers 43
Thin End of the Wedge 75
Love Is a Temper 105
Like a Demon 111
The Old Woman and Her Thief 119
A Stand of Fables 143
To the Farm 151