Caves of the Rust Belt
Caves of the Rust Belt
The natural successor to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg collection, Caves of the Rust Belt: Ohio Stories travels to the Heart of It All, where drowned sailors reminisce over a hot meal and the rules of the yard sale are law. In his stunning debut, Joe Kapitan captures the modern Midwest in devastating detail, often blurring the lines between reality and the surreal. The depth of each story leaves readers wanting more as they dig into the pages of this remarkable collection. Memories of another America encase families like a Cold War bunker, forcing characters to confront the pasts that haunt their future. A man tries to renovate the exterior of an old mansion, but even in the state where All Things Are Possible, it is impossible to remove the cracks in the foundation and exorcise the ghosts in the basement. A school shares a message of resilience and community, while masking terrifying truths that appear all-too-possible in our current age. Kapitan has created a fantastical representation of the post-recession Midwest, presenting an image of a world where sinkholes don't just swallow the neighborhood, but also unearth hidden hope lying beneath the surface.
"Caves of the Rust Belt: Ohio Stories renders people and places reduced by redundancy. Chiseled stories that are not only concerned with how to survive and thrive, but how not to lose the humanity that makes existence worthwhile, and wondrous." -- Ethel Rohan, author of The Weight of Him
"With Caves of the Rust Belt-Ohio Stories, Joe Kapitan welds together the quintessential, semi-shiny, semi-corroded, steel American quilt. Through the twenty-eight pieces runs a common line that serves as the heart of the collection. And that line is: good old-fashioned integrity. Kapitan is an amalgamation of historian, Sherwood Anderson, and the songbook of The Michael Stanley Band. His collection no doubt adds to the canon of The Great American Story." -- Alex M. Pruteanu, author of The Sun Eaters, Gears, and Short Lean Cuts
"'Go to Ohio, where the earth is soft and holds the dead up nice and high.' The words, at once commanding and portentious, penetrate the heart of Caves of the Rust Belt, Joe Kapitan's marvelous and assured debut collection. Prepare to go deep in Ohio where the state is not merely setting but character, and the characters are often trapped at 'the trappings of life'--from forbidden desires to oxidized notions of masculinity, to the broken wheel of time itself. The stories may unfold in the familiar landscapes of garages, carnivals, yard sales, rumbling old mansions, Bible camps, but the words that emerge startle in their imagination and shatter the heart. Don't get too comfortable: Kapitan is a master at subverting expectation, of unsettling the very ground you believe you know. 'Your job is to make things seem more possible than they are. You are selling hope...did you think you would find real magic here?' The answer: a resounding, aching yes." -- Sara Lippmann, author of Doll Palace