The long-awaited follow-up from the author of the Flannery O’Connor Award-winning collection, Silent Retreats, Forty Martyrs follows the intertwining lives of the people of Tuscola, Illinois, a small Midwestern college town that, over the course of the book, collectively experiences a spectacular fire, a terrible stabbing, and a questionable religious sighting. Through shifts in tone and perspective, Deaver’s natural storytelling creates a beautiful symphonic effect, an ode to small towns and Midwestern lives.
“I could hardly stop reading, from first to last. These piercingly direct stories contain endless subtleties and subtexts, uniting and dividing them in the most convincing and intricate way. And they’re so full of recognizable emotion concerning our interactions with the people who comprise our worlds, public and private–the relationships we’ve forged while climbing the frail scaffolding of human interaction that we can only hope will support us.”
–Ann Beattie, author of The State We’re In
“Philip F. Deaver is one of my favorite writers, and readers have been waiting a long time for Forty Martyrs. It’s good to finally have this book in my hands.”
–Kyle Minor, author of Praying Drunk
“I have deeply admired, for many years, the work of Philip F. Deaver, a writer unparalleled in his examination of lost souls longing to be found. In prose that is quietly lyric, and sharp with truth, his stories are kinetic with heartbreak and magic. His work is a triumph, and I would follow it anywhere.”
–Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me
“We learn more about the people around us and about our own interior lives when we venture into the stories and human landscapes of Philip F. Deaver’s work. Deaver’s hand is always deft, always nuanced, always steeped in the storyteller’s craft. The book you hold in your hands is made to be read alone on a quiet porch—just as much as it’s meant to be read aloud to someone you love. Filled with tenderness and pain, intimacy and clarity, 40 Martyrs resounds with Deaver’s bright signature–a clear-eyed curiosity and wonder for all that travels through the human heart.”
–Brian Turner, author of My Life as a Foreign Country
“Philip F. Deaver is a writer after my own heart. This is a funny, haunted, and haunting work of fiction, the kind of book that makes you shake your head in baffled wonder and give thanks.”
–David James Poissant, author of The Heaven of Animals
Philip F. Deaver was born in Chicago, IL, and grew up in the Midwest. He is the author of the Flannery O’Connor Award-winning story collection Silent Retreats, and the poetry collection How Men Pray. His poems have been featured several times on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. His stories have appeared in The Missouri Review, The Kenyon Review, The New England Review, and elsewhere; and have been anthologized in O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Catholic Short Stories, and the baseball anthologies Anatomy of Baseball and Bottom of the Ninth. He is a Professor of English at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.