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Cover art by Remy J. Groh

Set in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York—and in places between and beyond—these stories feature characters baffled by where they are in their lives. Several focus on returns—the emotions that roil, the dark secrets that press against the heart. A son attempts to endure a short visit to his parents, anxious about the effect such a tension-filled trip might have on his usually sunny wife. Home for the holidays, a thirty-something father tries to understand his life through the lens of sports. An abuse-haunted man, back in town for the funeral of a brother, encounters a former high school classmate who gives him a tour of her shrine to a famous rock-n-roller. A divorced mother, responding to a shocking family tragedy, sets out with her young daughter for the home she wishes she could forget. In the title piece, a novella-in-flash, a young woman escapes serious family dysfunction by moving away to college; however, she learns her hometown is a place she cannot so easily leave behind. In these and other stories, characters are coming and going, forever shaped by where they are.

About the Author

Michael Cocchiarale is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Widener University (Chester, PA), where he teaches courses in American literature, fiction writing, and composition. He is the author of Still Time (Fomite, 2012), a collection of short and shorter stories and has coedited several collections of scholarly essays, including most recently, Critical Insights: Flash Fiction.


“Cocchiarale gets the business of family and the insecurities of love like nobody else. These stories strum heart chords and hit gut strings and touch nerves.”

— Catherine Zobal Dent, author of Unfinished Stories of Girls