By Ethan Rutherford
Rising literary star Ethan Rutherford’s fevered new collection pulls together eight short stories about family and home that are at the same time fevered, personal, and explicitly engaged with their own telling.
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
A baby is born with gills. Foxes raise and then lose a human child. A man, in the final throes of his deathbed fever-dream, experiences a cross-Antarctic voyage. The stories in Farthest South, the second story collection from renowned writer Ethan Rutherford, find characters in the most unexpectedly menacing of circumstances, in which their sanity, happiness, and safety are put to the test. Formally ambitious, with an eye toward the strange, with an inimitable style all Rutherford’s own, each story is nonetheless firmly grounded by a deep, human concern: the anxiety of family connection and humanity.
Ethan Rutherford’s fiction has appeared in BOMB, Tin House, Ploughshares, One Story, American Short Fiction, Post Road, Esopus, Conjunctions, and The Best American Short Stories. His first book, The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, was a finalist for the John Leonard Award, received an honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and was the winner of a Minnesota Book Award. Born in Seattle, Washington, he received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota and now teaches Creative Writing at Trinity College. He lives in Hartford, Connecticut, with his wife and two sons.
“Farthest South makes me want to renew my vows to the short story form. Ethan Rutherford pulls off what other writers can't. His stories are dreamy and crisp. They lull and then startle. Best of all, they don't go anywhere I expect them to. I am obsessed." —Diane Cook, author of The New Wilderness and Man V. Nature
"Ethan Rutherford is one of our great artists of catastrophe. Drawing on landscapes both mythic—the fairytale, the ghost story—and domestic, this collection illuminates terrors that feel at once prescient and eternal. Farthest South is a masterpiece." —Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold a Wolf by the Ears and The Third Hotel
"Again and again you can feel the stories in Farthest South striking out after fascination and surprising themselves with wisdom. Ethan Rutherford pairs a classic style with a haunted vision. Narratives that are all grace and ease at the beginning gradually become soaked in dread and hallucination. Reading them is by equal measures comforting and jolting, like sinking into a warm bath and feeling the brush of something living against your body.” —Kevin Brockmeier, author of A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip and The Illumination
"Ethan Rutherford's stories combine nail-biting tension with crystalline description, humor, and endings that are as marvelously strange as they are rewarding. Toggling between the eerie and the radiantly familiar, Farthest South is unsettling in all the best ways. This is a beautifully spellbinding book." —Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members and The Shakespeare Requirement
"Ethan Rutherford’s Farthest South is a spooky, sweet, wondrous short story collection.Rutherford’s stories possess undeniable darkness, and his collection maintains suspense throughout…There’s variety in the subject matter, but also in style, while occasional black-and-white illustrations add to the enjoyment." —Foreword Reviews
On The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories:
“Rutherford’s wildly inventive collection is nothing short of a revelation. From polar expeditions to family turmoil, no experience is beyond this very fine writer’s ambitious grasp. He gives us the world with each story, with the world’s full measure of heartbreak and hilarity.” —Ben Fountain, National Book Critics Circle award-winning author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
“Ethan Rutherford’s stories are funny and wrenching and feature hapless fatalists who nonetheless never stop striving, whose motto might be It’s Not Too Late to Take Responsibility for What We’re Doing, even as they continue to squander such opportunities. And yet they never let us forget that there’s always the possibility that they will learn-even if it’s the hard way-to see beyond themselves.” —Jim Shepard, author of National Book Award finalist Like You’d Understand Anyway
“Ethan Rutherford’s stories are absolutely perfect. . . I rarely feel this close to heartbreak, this strengthened by a writer clearly doing something special.” —Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang