Congrats to former contributor Jason Ockert, who has just released his newest collection of short stories, Neighbors of Nothing (Dzanc Books). We haven't read it yet, but if the stories are anything like "Max," which appeared in our Spring 2011 issue and was a finalist for the national Shirley Jackson Award, we can't wait to score a copy.
Neighbors of Nothing examines characters who find themselves searching for new identities in worlds they no longer recognize. In "Piebald," parents assume the identity of their dead son; in "Everyday Murders," the sole survivor of a violent crime attempts to confront an online entrepreneur who sells football-style serial killer jerseys. Through odd, compelling, and sometimes futile gestures, these characters struggle against guilt and grief and the seemingly endless stretch of days. Influenced by absurdism and the southern gothic, Neighbors of Nothing offers intelligent and heartrending insights into the complex human struggle to exist with purpose.