A yacht races to outrun a tsunami. A young man jailed on a drug charge forms a relationship with his cellmate that is both loving and savage. A teen raised by his out-and-proud father, a Turkish immigrant, is displaced after violence fractures his life, forever altering his sense of time and memory. A wistful mother escapes her reality and regret by losing herself in the miniature worlds she finds at the edge of the woods.
Perfect for readers of Carmen Maria Machado, Garth Greenwell, and A.M. Homes, Here Is What You Do
is a powerful, timely short story collection by a vital new voice in
queer fiction. Dennis’s debut is a bravura work of muscularly robust
prose that captures the primal need, desire, cruelty, and promise of
people trying to connect with, and consume, each other. The stories’
complex themes—trauma, addiction, the prison system, queer identity,
isolation and crushing loneliness, validation, and everything in
between—are tackled with an unfailing eye for human drives and
characters have immense psychological depth and each story drills
toward their darkest emotional centers, resulting in moving prose that
embraces vulnerability and grit. “In Motel Rooms” sees a fictionalized
Coretta Scott King stalked and harassed by the FBI and considering the
costs of her life with her husband, who is lifted up as a hero by the
public, but still painfully human behind closed doors. In “Nettles,” a
married couple moves out of the city and buys a rural slaughterhouse.
But the strange, unnameable tension with their religious neighbors
quickly escalates, and the couple struggles to retain their shaky
facade of domesticity.
By turns heartrending and hopeful, Here Is What You Do refuses to shy away from the harsh realities of the flaws and saving graces that make us human.