Join us on Friday, November 13 at 7pm PST when Patrick Earl Ryan discusses his award-winning debut collection, If We Were Electric, with Martin Pousson on Zoom!
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Praise for If We Were Electric
Selected by Roxane Gay for the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
“If We Were Electric, the debut short story collection from New Orleans’s native Patrick Earl Ryan is, indeed, fiercely electric. These twelve startling fictions have been crafted by a writer with an assured and absolutely original voice and a remarkable understanding of how place is as much a compelling character in a good story as the people who populate it. There are stories here about unrequited love and youthful yearning, the complexities of desire between men, the beginnings and ends of relationships, deaths both inevitable and untimely, the bitter ache of loneliness, the quiet horrors that unexpectedly befall us, and the magic of the ordinary world. With this outstanding collection, Patrick Ryan makes his mark on Southern literature and how.”—Roxane Gay
About If We Were Electric
If We Were Electric's twelve stories celebrate New Orleans in all of its beautiful peculiarities: macabre and magical, muddy and exquisite, sensual and spiritual. The stunning debut collection finds its characters in moments of desire and despair, often stuck on the verge of a great metamorphosis, but burdened by some unreasonable love. These are stories about missed opportunities, about people on the outside who don't fit in, about the consequences of not mustering enough courage to overcome the binds.
In "Feux Follet," an old man's grief attracts supernatural lights in the dark Louisiana swamps. An exploding transformer's raw, unnerving energy in the title story matches the strange, ferocious temper of an unlucky hustler. "Blackout" sets the profound numbness of a young man physically abused by his mentally unstable partner beside the meaningful beauty of an unexpected moment of joy with someone else. The teenage narrator in "Before Las Blancas" is so overwhelmed by his sexuality that he abandons everything and everyone he's known to live in a happy illusion . . . in Mexico. And "Where It Takes Us" is a poignant, understated snapshot of a gay man who accompanies his straight, HIV-positive brother to the race track to bond again.
About Patrick Earl Ryan
PATRICK EARL RYAN was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. His work has appeared in the Ontario Review, Pleiades, Best New American Voices, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Men on Men: Best New Gay Fiction for the Millennium, Cairn, and the James White Review. Founder and editor in chief of Lodestar Quarterly, Ryan has also taught martial arts philosophy and tai chi chuan for many years. He lives in San Francisco, California.
If We Were Electric's twelve stories celebrate New Orleans in all of its beautiful peculiarities: macabre and magical, muddy and exquisite, sensual and spiritual. The stunning debut collection finds its characters in moments of desire and despair, often stuck on the verge of a great metamorphosis, but burdened by some unreasonable love.
Winner of the 2017 PEN Center USA Award for Fiction