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The characters in These Are Our Demands grasp at chances forever bobbing away. Their lack of power may be due to language or cultural barriers, racial or age discrimination, or because they hail from parts of the country where merely getting by passes for rousing success. These twelve narratives range in aesthetic from tidy realism to a more slanted, fabulist bent, and are concerned with the contours of where our culture is headed—whether that means colonizing the moon because of a tourist scheme gone awry, or an abandoned town populated by blind bluesmen, faithfully awaiting their lovers’ return. Through subversive satire, this collection explores ways in which consignment to the margins opens up a kind of wilderness beyond the borders of polite society.
Advance Praise for These Are Our Demands
“With whimsy and guts, Matthew Pitt delineates the botched hopes and stylized vanities of his wildly imagined characters. These are boldly drawn, delicately surprising stories—remarkable reports from unexplored pockets of reality.”
— Joan Silber, author of Ideas of Heaven (National Book Award and Story Prize Finalist)
“The stories in These are Our Demands vibrate with the ‘magical every day’, each one finely tuned to the strange, hilarious and often unsettling pulse that beats beneath the ordinary. Matthew Pitt has written a brilliant study of us, one that will keep you smiling and thinking for days. With the humor of Thurber and the algebra of Borges, he reveals the buried restlessness that ripples the surface of modern life.”
— Ana Menéndez, author of Adios, Happy Homeland!
“Matthew Pitt’s These Are Our Demands is an inventive, powerful collection. It showcases Pitt’s keen eye for the ways that his characters struggle to be more than the person that they are, despite the fact that they are, as one story puts it, ‘falling behind the curve.’ These are stories deeply rooted in place, that peel away the illusion of safety to find a deeper truth, something startling and beautiful.”
— Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang
“In turns both dark and shimmering, Matthew Pitt’s beautiful prose simmers with uncertainty and unease, humor and heartache, tendernessand toughness. This collection of timely, timeless stories is filled with characters who teeter on the precipice between getting what they want and losing what they have, a panoply of desire and desperation, of unrealized dreams and unexpected kindnesses. It’s a truly wonderful book.”
— Aryn Kyle, author of The God of Animals