The Gill Man In Purgatory
short stories by David Denny
In a wide range of genres, from mythic parable to gritty realism, these twenty stories explore the most intimate encounters between husbands and wives, parents and children, lovers and strangers. In one story, an ex-movie stuntman relives watery memories of pleasure and panic from the arid terrain of his afterlife. In another, a precocious ten-year-old girl composes an email plea for reconciliation to her estranged grandfather. In yet another, a retired midwestern couple face existential crisis in a Hawaiian paradise. Blending terror and delight, dissolution and renewal, each vivid tale surprises the reader with a clarifying moment, reminding us that life is a balancing act between sacred and profane, and we must hold on to the one, without letting go of the other.
FICTION / Short Stories (single author)
ISBN: 978-1-941830-75-8 (print)
David Denny is the author of Man Overboard (Wipf & Stock), Fool in the Attic (Aldrich Press), and Plebeian on the Front Porch (Finishing Line Press). His stories and poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Pearl, New Ohio Review, and The Sun. He holds a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree in creative writing from the University of Oregon and a Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.T.) degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. Recent honors include an Artist Laureate Award by the Arts Council of Silicon Valley, a two-year term as inaugural Poet Laureate of Cupertino, California, and numerous Pushcart nominations. Denny is Professor of English at De Anza College and former editor of Bottomfish magazine. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Jill, a prominent choral conductor and music teacher. They are the proud parents of two talented children and the timorous guardians of a persnickety cat named Molly Bloom. When not writing or teaching, Denny can often be found watching classic movies from the balcony of the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto.
David Denny’s stories are bewitching. They take place in a world we know intuitively, but have never imagined quite like this—edgy and entirely original. Denny is a master of voices and moods, and while I’m amazed at the variety of stories here, I recognize his sure and steady hand in each one.
From darkness to redemption, from the grit of everyday life to the numinous nature of myth, David Denny’s stories are as beguiling as they are smart. There’s something we’ve long forgotten in the world of writing: mastery takes time. Time and discipline are evident in Denny’s work, and they are balanced by an innate sense of story and a distinct voice that is deeply human and compassionate. The Gill Man in Purgatory places Denny alongside some of the best short story writers of our era.
David Denny's stories run like a catalog of earthly woes through which run a surprising thread of wonderment and grace. One can feel the often grim shadows of Chekhov and Carver but also the strange brightness of TC Boyle and Vonnegut. Of course in the end it's all Denny: beautiful, rich, and timeless--these are stories not to be missed.
Janie Lamping, De Anza professor’s novel escapes “Purgatory”, November 20, 2016. LAVOZDEANZA.COM
Kristi Myllenbeck, Cupertino: De Anza College instructor's new book has plenty of highs, lows and some "weird", January 27, 2016. San Jose Mercury News.
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