Timothy Schaffert has created his most memorable character yet in Essie, an octogenarian obituary writer for her family's small town newspaper. When a young country girl is reported to be missing, perhaps whisked away by an itinerant aerial photographer, Essie stumbles onto the story of her life. Or, it all could be simply a hoax, or a delusion, the child and child-thief invented from the desperate imagination of a lonely, lovelorn woman. Either way, the story of the girl reaches far and wide, igniting controversy, attracting curiosity-seekers and cult worshippers from all over the country to this dying rural town. And then it is revealed that the long awaited final book of an infamous series of ya gothic novels is being secretly printed on the newspaper's presses.
The Coffins of Little Hope tells a feisty, energetic story of characters caught in the intricately woven webs of myth, legend and deception even as Schaffert explores with his typical exquisite care and sharp eye the fragility of childhood, the strength of family, the powerful rumor mills of rural America, and the sometimes dramatic effects of pop culture on the way we shape our world.
"Starred Review. Schaffert spins out the story and its offbeat characters with compassion, spoofing the nation's voracious appetite for 'news'... Piercing observations and sharp, subtle wit make this a standout." - Publishers Weekly
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Timothy Schaffert is the author of four novels, including The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God and The Coffins of Little Hope. His short fiction was short-listed for the O. Henry Prize, and won the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award and the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, and his fiction and essays have been featured in several anthologies. He is the director of two literary nonprofits: the (downtown) omaha lit fest and the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference: the Prairie Schooner Workshops. He teaches in the English Department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is the web/contributing editor for the school's literary magazine, the Prairie Schooner.
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