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Cover design by Kurt Volk
The stories in The Inconvenience of the Wings inhabit a imaginative landscape so expansive in conception that it permeates the border between the natural and the supernatural. In “Outlaw,” a group of feckless friends attempts to rob a gas station and causes an explosion worthy of a Quentin Tarantino scene, yet the description juxtaposes violence with a poetic evocation of nature. In "The Bellwether", some friends, trapped in a vacation cabin by a blizzard, some friends solve the problem of finding one of their company dead by placing her body in the freezing barn, necessitating the digging of a passage which is described in strangely beautiful language: “We shoveled. Wind harried the snow in horizontal gusts. We channeled between the house and the barn: the snow even with my navel, the sky a vertiginous swirl, the air scented of cold.” This extraordinarily powerful debut collection shows us that what seems beyond our ken is as much a part of the human experience as the tactile ground on which we tread.
About the Author:
Silas Dent Zobal was born in Bellingham, Washington, and spent his teenage years in Rockford, Illinois. His fiction has appeared in the Missouri Review, Glimmer Train, Shenandoah, North American Review, and many others journals. Stories from The Inconvenience of the Wings won the inaugural Discovered Voices Award from the Iron Horse Literary Review, a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and first place in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open. His debut novel, People of the Broken Neck, will be released by Unbridled Books in Fall 2016.
The stories in Silas Zobal’s remarkable collection, The Inconvenience of the Wings, operate according to his own principle: they’re not about what we can say, they’re about what we can’t say. With his clipped, staccato sentences, his pitch-perfect dialogue, and his often fragmented method, Zobal strikes me as a cubist and minimalist who achieves his effects by indirection and subtraction. One of the delights of his stories is that they are often intellectual puzzles, and one of the qualities I admire most about his work is its sheer intelligence. This is not the pedantic intelligence of yellowed note cards but the earnest, sharp and fresh intelligence that addresses the oldest questions–why do we die, do our lives have meaning, of what use is language. Zobal’s stories are distinguished by a rigorous authenticity, but they’re not solemn or morose. Many, in fact, are hilariously funny, others wildly inventive, others disturbingly violent. This is a stunning debut.
— John Vernon, author of The Last Canyon and Lucky Billy
Reading this collection was, for me, an opportunity to encounter a voice that was both fresh and resonant. I was touched by his heart-stopping scenes: a man standing vigil over his dying wife, speaking his sorrow to the baby yet to come. Silas Dent Zobal’s story collection is a significant literary achievement by any measure.
— Kim Van Alkemade, author of Orphan Number 8
“I’m a forever fan of Silas Dent Zobal, a direct descendant of the great stylists and provocateurs of arts and letters. Even still, I was staggered by the precision and virtuoso depth of this collection. The Inconvenience of the Wings is unsettling the way a too-good tarot reading is unsettling, lucid the way x-ray vision is lucid, original and deft and daring as only Silas can be.”
— Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn