Paloma Press is delighted to announce the October 19 release of The Ruin of Everything, a short story collection by acclaimed Filipino American author Lara Stapleton! Ruin is now available for pre-order from Bookshop.org, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The Ruin of Everything tells tales of abandoned children living in adult bodies. Bastards, bi-racial half-siblings, and orphans raised by aunts, they lose their last best love through brokenness like “the impossible loop in a stress dream.” Racial ambiguity abounds and confounds US color lines. Tones stretch from lugubrious sorrow to wicked dramedy. Obstinately fluid in architecture and identity, stories range from slick Hollywood glam to essayistic musings, from traditional immigrant realism, to rehearsals of autofiction that grow more metatextual as the book goes along. Just as we think we’ve learned how to read Stapleton’s stories, they shapeshift. And yet, the pieces reflect each other, a sad-clown funhouse hall of mirrors. Through wanton experiments with character, The Ruin of Everything asks us what is important to a tale and what it means to be American in country and continents. Lovers of Clarice Lispector and Luisa Valenzuela will find much to admire here.
“An Anaïs Nin of late capitalism’s bohemia, Lara Stapleton writes like an oracle of an underworld—of miscegenated loves and translocated broken souls—of characters unaware or ruinously conscious—and she inscribes that world in us with lust and wit and always that deep joy that encompasses sorrows bred in the bone, the race, the colors of one’s skin, the heart, and of course the tongue: the word.”
—Gina Apostol, author of Insurrecto
“With a keen eye for human ambitions and human frailties, Stapleton brings us the comic turmoil of characters steeped in the sorrows and absurdities of modern life; reaching for connection and erring, reaching for home and missing. Brimming with hard-edged loneliness, these stories reach into the underbellies of our deepest hopes and fears.”
—Laurel Flores Fantauzzo, author of My Heart Underwater
“If you could read only one of the nine short stories, “New” makes the release of the entire book worthwhile. And “Flesh and Blood” also passed my key test as not just a reader but a writer: the story made me want to run to my own pen or keyboard to write. The stories are engaging but the writing is also a writer’s writer’s delight: the characterizations are not just deep but sumptuous, structures are not just innovative but fresh, and narratives are both finely detailed but interspersed with psychological caesuras for maximizing the reader’s inhabitance.”
—Eileen Tabios, author of DoveLion
“Stapleton often eschews the traditional arc of storytelling. Some read like expanded character sketches, though the story is IN the characters. This is not to say the narratives lack emotions — they are embedded in each character, affirmed or denied by their respective coteries. After all, aren’t we the sum of all lives we touched and denied?”
—Victor Velasco, poet & fiction writer
“Stapleton appears to have set out to navigate crisscrossing lives by simply allowing the characters, especially the I-persona, to adjudicate between everyday instances of hope and anguish… The navigation is skillfully conducted through shifting maps of loneliness, angst, and the occasional ruin of everything. The inherent intricacies develop a matrix of resultant debris that keeps the story-telling in the throes of deep engagement.”
—Alfred Yuson, literary critic and author of The Music Child
“The real pleasure of this book lies in Stapleton’s irrepressible approach to narrative structure. Long, loose chains of events culminate in volta-like swerves…. these endings refashion early meanderings in thrilling flashes.”
—The New York Times
About the author:
LARA STAPLETON is the author of the short story collection, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant for Writers, a two-time winner of the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Award for Fiction and winner of the Columbia Journal Fiction Prize.
*Virtual book launch party on 10/19 at 5pm PST/8pm EST! Details here.