Jerry Gabriel’s second collection of short fiction, The Let Go, is now available where our books are sold! To celebrate, Jerry Gabriel will be answering your questions tonight on /r/books, starting at 5:00 PM EST, under the handle /u/gg676767. He is a brave man, and we’ll miss him when he departs this Earth for the internet.
About The Let Go:
The people who inhabit Jerry Gabriel’s second collection of stories, The Let Go, strain against their historical moments. A poacher’s daughter, a disgraced vet, an out–of–work temp, a professor, a middle–school basketball ace: these are the Great Let Go in whose embattled existence we feel the impact of war, financial crises, and the many lesser perils that attend life. With equal measures of tenderness, ruthlessness, and humor, Gabriel illuminates an Ohio landscape—its cities, suburbs, and countryside—fraught with economic disparity, its characters facing their dilemmas with grief, with anger, but always exhibiting a surprising fortitude. In these seven taut stories, Gabriel writes hardship as a site of hope.
“The characters in Jerry Gabriel’s The Let Go are the most memorable I’ve read in a very long time. They’re war vets and immigrants, ex–cons and small town middle–schoolers, whose lives intertwine in ways both inevitable and unlikely. As they trap mink, repair roofs, harbor fugitives, and try to figure how the hell to run a factory in the basement, they stand in that place—familiar to all of us—where life shifts imperceptibly and something has to give. They cling hard to integrity and do what they have to do.”
—Ana Maria Spagna, author of Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus
“Like Alice Munro’s stories, these wonderful stories by Jerry Gabriel often have the scope of novels. They take a particular interest in characters who are just barely hanging on and who fear ’the let go’: the day when they will be laid off. The stories have great urgency and momentum and carry you headlong through to the end. The Let Go is one of the best books of short fiction that I’ve read in the last few years.”
—Charles Baxter, author of There’s Something I Want You to Do
“The Let Go is a knife–twister, sharp, sad, sneakily funny. Jerry Gabriel writes with bracing authenticity and insight, but what’s most impressive is how he’s able to chart and deepen the pathos of these unmoored lives without ever marinating in it or succumbing to easy revelations. A terrific collection.”
—Kevin Moffett, author of The Silent History
“An enormous heart pulses through every page, every line of The Let Go, a collection of stories somehow diverse enough to include poachers, roofers, scientists, dropouts, basketball stars, war vets, office workers, and accidental factory owners, all of them full of longing for something they can’t quite name. With his careful attention to their rich interior lives, it’s obvious Jerry Gabriel loves every one of his characters for exactly who they are, and you will too. The Let Go is a work of great literature.”
—Matt Burgess, author of Uncle Janice
“Jerry Gabriel’s wry, fierce stories are about Ohio in the same way Breece Pancake’s stories are about West Virginia, which is to say they tenderly, vividly evoke a singular merciless landscape while also being deeply engaged with the larger world and the politics and history of the United States. In The Let Go, Gabriel elegantly distills the disorders of our perilous times into marvelously strange fiction that is sometimes surreal, often wickedly funny, and profoundly moving. These stories bring us the news that stays news.”
—Maud Casey, author of The Man Who Walked Away
Jerry Gabriel’s first book of fiction, Drowned Boy, was chosen by Andrea Barrett to win the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and was published in 2010 by Sarabande Books. It was a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection and awarded the 2011 Towson Prize for Literature. His stories have recently appeared in Five Chapters, EPOCH, Big Fiction, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Missouri Review. He lives in Maryland, where he teaches at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and directs the Chesapeake Writers’ Conference.