Following his acclaimed debut novel, The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo, the eleven stories of Ian Stansel’s Glossary for the End of Days explore today’s cultural and political climate with a disarming blend of speculation and realism. Whether faced with tragedy, approaching disaster, or an all-too-familiar uncertainty, Stansel’s protagonists—siblings, lovers, executives, drifters—reveal complex and often startling turns of mind, surprising themselves as well as the reader.
In Boulder, a man calls into a radio program with an altered tale of his brother’s murder—and faces the consequences when the story goes viral. In Tampa, a woman attends a convention of people believing themselves to be targets of clandestine government agencies. In Houston, a family with many secrets attempts to escape an oncoming tropical storm. In an East Coast college town, a professor has a charged run-in with a young woman from the radical right. And in Iowa, a cult suicide spurs the lone survivor to create a “glossary” in an effort to come to terms with his experience.
Simultaneously gritty and lyrical, grounded and visionary, Glossary for the End of Days gives us characters grappling with how to push on through dark days and dark times. This arresting, relevant collection tunes into and seeks to illuminate shared anxieties about the present—and future—of our world.
About the Author
Ian Stansel is the author of the novel The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo and the short story collection Everybody’s Irish, a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous venues such as Ploughshares, Poets & Writers, Salon, Joyland, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing at the University of Louisville.
"A collection of stories in search of an America that resists road mapping. In nine stories and two short 'interludes,' Stansel presents protagonists from all over the country in search of their identities (from sexual orientation to musical category), attempting to come to terms with mortality (their own and others), trying to find meaning and order in a world of chance and chaos. . . . [Stansel] is a writer who thinks hard and deep about the country that forges his fiction."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Shot through with the exquisite ache of being human, Glossary for the End of Days explores how we continue after our worlds seem to have ended; how we make new worlds for ourselves—via relationships, spirituality, even music—and learn how to live in them. What a gorgeous, imaginative, and needed-in-this-moment book."
— Maggie Smith, author of Keep Moving and Good Bones
"Wildly entertaining stories that are also strangely prescient. Ian Stansel writes with patience, grace, and insight."
— Craig Finn, songwriter and lead singer of The Hold Steady
"A collection of short stories that perfectly captures the anxiety of our times and the ways in which we can lose ourselves as we try to make sense of a disordered world."