The stories in Everyone Remain Calm reveal landscapes where the surreal and the familiar clash, to visceral effect. A woman yearns for—and dreads—the snowfall that arrives whenever her ex-boyfriend returns to the home she shares with their son. Another character reassures herself after breakups by seeking out the monster under her bed, the Incredible Hulk himself, for rebound sex that can be hot, heavy, and unnerving. Marching bands blare all the way from New Orleans to the Midwest. There are wild shootouts, rising tides, and perils embedded in the act of storytelling itself. “There are words that can kill you if you’re not careful,” Stielstra writes. And the stories we tell ourselves are the most fantastic tales of all. Everyone Remain Calm is eerie, hilarious, moving, and down-to-earth, even as its characters defy the rules—sometimes in the ways we wish we could.