dark continent and other stories

Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Epub ISBN: 9780997210248
Paperback ISBN: 9780997210231

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About the Author

Laura Kalpakian is the author of seventeen works of fiction in both the US, the UK, and abroad. Winner of an NEA fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and the PEN West Award, among others; she also twice won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award. She has served as a regular book critic for both the Miami Herald and the San Jose Mercury News. A native Californian, Laura Kalpakian was educated on both the east and west coasts with a BA and an MA in history. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. You can find more about Laura at her website laurakalpakian.com

Rich and resonant, these stories follow the lives of characters whose obsession with the past illuminates their otherwise ordinary lives. In A Christmas Cordial an elderly spinster creates a cordial brewed from notes given to her from an 18th century writer. The Battle of Manila chronicles the tale of a mother whose grief for her lost soldier son has turned to madness, but whose spirit remains unbroken. In Wine, Women and Song two women await the return of their men at the end of World War II, bracing for the seismic changes that the peace will bring. In 1920 Major Colin French, the central character of the title novella Dark Continent, arrives in the dusty town of St. Elmo, California, at the behest of British lawyers seeking to settle a vast inheritance left by a lord of the realm. These are characters who transform pain into strength. These are stories linked by the powers-and perils-of love, the imagination, of memory and magic.



“If Laura Kalpakian gets her due, she’ll be justly remembered and duly revered for one incredible story, not even the title one, found in these pages. Bones of Contention, a 47 page journey into psychological hell…The prose in this story is at once unbearable and unbelievably beautiful.”


“Whether these women are old or very young, they have something magical about them. More important, they spread their magic as if it were contagious. You wouldn’t’ call any of them witches, yet they have the power to transform pain into strength…Ms. Kalpakian creates inspiring,   thought-provoking, even bewitching characters.”


“Whatever happened to old fashioned stories with fleshed out characters, well crafted plots, strong themes and palpable atmosphere? Laura Kalpakian, for one, is still writing them…the work   of a natural storyteller who also commands aan impressive range of styles and voices.”


“These stories are distinguished by skillful plotting and style…They are admirably balanced between attention to compelling storyline and perceptive, intriguing characterization, just as they are balanced between an awareness of pain and a necessary park of lively resistance. It is Kalpakian at  her best—earthy, magical, compassionate and inventive to the last detail—in this uniformly fine  collection of short fiction.”