Thea Prieto’s debut From the Caves, winner of the Red Hen Novella Award, contains an entire post-apocalyptic world that is both empty and claustrophobic. In the core days of a blazing summer, four people fight for survival with only each other and their storytelling to drive them forward. Resources are catastrophically limited; the world is broken and hard, and so are the people in it. The characters start out feeling archetypal—mother, father, child, elder—but they develop into deeply realized people who, despite suffocating proximity with one another, seem to grieve alone. In this way, Prieto’s novella pairs the fundamental and material lack the characters endure with the abundant and infinite potential of the stories they tell, exploring how we use story to condense, express, and retain essential knowledge.