book cover of Shadowselves
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A collection of stories by

Speculative and darkly surreal, the stories in Shadowselves examine characters who have stepped dangerously close to an edge they cannot see. A snow plow driver stranded on the roadside during a blizzard finds himself trapped in a riddled memory. A middle-aged man wakes up one morning to find he’s gained four hundred pounds overnight, along with the unbearable regrets of countless strangers. A lonely child sets off to prove the existence of a mythic bird, but uncovers an ugly secret on the other side of town. A comatose teenage outcast traverses the liminal space between life and death. With a sometimes-tenuous grip on reality, and often haunted by mistakes, repressions, and alternate versions of who they might have been, the characters in Shadowselves struggle to find meaningful human connections in a world where the most important things always seem just out of their reach.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"There are writers who are experts at perfecting the well-known story, and writers who strike out on their own, who innovate the form. What's remarkable about Ockert is that he is one of the few writers who manages simultaneously to do both: these are beautifully crafted and necessary stories that nevertheless take real narrative risks. They are surprising and alarming, but also deeply familiar and satisfying." - Brian Evenson

"Jason Ockert would be worth reading for the luminescence of his prose alone, but the stories in Shadowselves are just as marvelous. In form and content, they constantly subvert our expectations, but somehow always lead us into the endless complexities of the human heart." - Ron Rash

"Devotees of Steven Millhauser, Karen Russell, Kevin Brockmeier, and George Saunders might be choosing a new favorite writer after devouring Jason Ockert's Shadowselves. This collection offers nothing but off-center, believable characters lodged in off-center, though believable, situations. Throw Barthelme in there, too and - perhaps oddly - Carver. What an astounding accomplishment." - George Singleton

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