The Frozen Sea Within Us
Sean Conway’s new collection of stories takes an ax, as Franz Kafka once wrote, to the frozen sea within us, excavating the broken shards of heartbreak, pain, and longing with the precision of a surgeon. In the opening story, “Salisbury Beach,” a young man stuck in his decaying hometown is futilely helping his grandmother run her motel when a sudden and tragic turn opens a long-scabbed wound. In “Monte Carlo [Mint Condition],” a teacher, in a flurry of spontaneity, blows the money he’d been saving for a diamond engagement ring, sending his well-structured plans unraveling. And in “Graduation Day,” a young woman’s college commencement forces her to acknowledge the emotional scars beneath the physical ones she’s been forced to wear most of her life.
Raw and relentless, Conway’s stories reveal the ugliness hiding underneath beauty, and the beauty - buried and waiting to be revealed - behind the ugly.
"So very moving. The ending so powerful. A story replete with melancholy and longing." - Lee Hope, author of Horsefever, on the opening story.