Deadheading and Other Stories

Irrevocably tied to the Carolinas, these stories tell tales of the woebegone, their obsessions with decay, and the haunting ache of the region itself—the land of the dwindling pines, the isolation inherent in the mountains and foothills, and the loneliness of boomtowns. Predominantly working-class women challenge the status quo by rejecting any lingering expectations or romantic notions of Southern femininity. Small businesses are failing. Factories are closing. Money is tight. The threat of violence lingers for women and girls. Through their collective grief, heartache, and unsettling circumstances, many of these characters become feral and hell-bent on survival. Gilstrap’s prose teems with wildness and lyricism, showing the Southern gothic tradition of storytelling is alive and feverishly unwell in the twenty-first century.

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Beth Gilstrap doesn’t write stories. She creates worlds. Living, breathing, meticulously crafted ecosystems we can walk and breathe in. Around every corner is someone familiar, some bleeding wound that hasn’t quite healed, some inhabitant walking through their lives independent of our gaze. These are heartbreaking worlds, but nonetheless beautiful.”—Jared Yates Sexton, author of The Man They Wanted Me to Be

“Beth Gilstrap is a grand storyteller, and her lush, endearing Deadheading and Other Stories is a marvel. Steeped in despair, Gilstrap’s characters are lonely, wistful folk—trapped, dripping with longing, saturated with anguish and melancholy—who carve out necessary spaces of personhood in the tiny corners of their lives: making coffee, digging hands in the dirt, frying eggs in gobs of butter, reminiscing about days gone by. These characters are terrae incarnate—of this earth, drudged from it, molded and shaped by its rivers and valleys and the winding roads that go on and on, who, yet, are ever seeking, never quite settled. In this enchanting collection—with language and plotting so beautifully crafted, it stings—Gilstrap delivers us through darkness toward a hanging promise of hope, a glinting bit of fortune that might, yet, be within reach.”—Robert James Russell, author of Mesilla and Sea of Trees


Beth Gilstrap ( Author Website )

Publication Date: October 5, 2021

Genre/Imprint: Red Hen Press, Short Stories

$15.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 9781636280004