"[An] impressive debut short story collection . . . These haunting stories deserve a wide audience" (
, starred review).
Winner of the 2015 PEN/Hemingway Award
The stories in Elegy on Kinderklavier
explore the profound loss and intricate effects of war on lives that have been suddenly misaligned. A diplomat navigates a hostile political climate and an arranged marriage in an Israeli settlement on a newly discovered planet; a small town in Kansas shuns the army recruiter who signed up its boys as troops are deployed to Iraq, falling in helicopters and on grenades; a family dissolves around mental illness and a child's body overtaken by cancer. The moment a soldier steps on an explosive device is painfully reproduced, nanosecond by nanosecond. Arna Bontemps Hemenway's stories feel pulled out of time and place, and the suffering of his characters seem at once otherworldly and stunningly familiar. Elegy on Kinderklavier
is a disquieting exploration of what it is to lose and be lost.
"Story after story, this collection surprised me and set my mind ablaze." --Alan Heathcock, author of Volt
"Arna Hemenway writes a fiction whose satisfactions are not merely narrative but musical, and it is a pleasure to listen to his stories as they rise into song." --Kevin Brockmeier, author of A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip
"Death is an imminent, lurking presence in this debut collection of seven stories, which explore the confluence of fate and circumstance that places men in situations of anguish and despair." --Publishers Weekly