cover of book

The Proper Words for Sin
by Gary Fincke
West Virginia University Press, 2013
Paper: 978-1-935978-88-6 | eISBN: 978-1-935978-89-3
Library of Congress Classification PS3556.I457P76 2013
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54


Coal burns underground and destroys a small town. A woman confronts police officers with her pet copperheads. A young girl drinks Drano. A man is banned from his favorite bar.

Within these eleven short stories, Flannery O’Connor Award winner and poet Gary Fincke brings into focus the small struggles of ordinary people. The characters within this collection, from boys and girls to fathers, mothers, and the aging, live in cities, in towns, and in rural areas. Yet, no matter the surroundings, all seem alone within a collective anxiety. Set against extraordinary events, such as the Three Mile Island accident, the Challenger Disaster, and the Kennedy assassination, these stories personalize history through a juxtaposition between large and small tragedies and the unflinching desire to find insight within and redemption from weakness and shortcoming.

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