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Ethan Rutherford: ‘The Peripatetic Coffin’

I picked it up in the first place because I saw that Sloane Crosley mentioned it on Twitter, and I pretty much agree with everything SC says. After reading the title story, about being a member of the crew aboard a hand-powered Confederate submarine in the Civil War, which was an exercise in waiting to sink, I was sort of baffled.

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In a good way. Ethan Rutherford has the gift of writing authentically about experiences in history in a way that is also very current.

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It just helped me relate to being there in that small, sweaty submarine that may or may not make it back to the surface from its test dive. Some, but not all of his stories are about similarly historic expeditions that involve being trapped, survival and exploration.

Others are about survival from a more abstract, emotional angle.

The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories

Parents await a visit from their son who they do their best to love despite his efforts to prove himself unlovable. One of the best parts of this book is that several of the stories are nautical. Rutherford is clearly a history buff and in the last story—an imagined future where Americans hunt an almost-extinct species called dirwhals that live in the sand, for energy—his true environmentalism and perspective on our place in history is not to be mistaken.

Building a hunk of metal and submerging it in the sea is gonna lead to death. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information Alternately funny, menacing, and deeply empathetic, the wildly inventive stories in Ethan Rutherfords The Peripatetic Coffin mark the debut of a powerful new voice in contemporary fictionWorried about waning enrollment, the head counselor of the worlds worst summer camp leads his campers on a series of increasingly dubious escapades in an effort to revive their esprit de corps.

‎The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories en Apple Books

A young boy on a sailing vacation with his father comes face-to-face with a dangerous stranger, and witnesses a wrenching act of violence. Parents estranged from their disturbed son must gird themselves for his visit, even as they cannot face each other.

And in the dazzling title story, the beleaguered crew of the first Confederate submarine embarks on their final, doomed mission during the closing days of the Civil War. Whether set aboard a Czarist-era Russian ship locked in Arctic ice, on a futuristic whaling expedition whose depredations guarantee the environmental catastrophe that is their undoing, or in a suburban basement where two grade-school friends articulate their mutual obsessions, these strange, imaginative, and refreshingly original stories explore the ways in which we experience the world: as it is, as it could be, and the dark contours that lie between.

Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Rutherford reveals something painstakingly humane and beautiful in mistakes and misdirection. The stories serve as compass points on a map of desolation and isolation.

REVIEW: 'The Peripatetic Coffin,' by Ethan Rutherford.

This is a beautiful book about human suffering, about human quandaries. It is also about bravery, history, love, longing, scientific and sexual exploration. Ethan Rutherford can slay you with humor and buoy you within the midst of tragedy. His range is amazing. I bow down to The Peripatetic Coffin.

This is a flat-out beautiful book of stories Not all books of stories are page-turners, but this one is.?

The one I will always carry with me He writes with such sensitivity and clarity about how and why things come undone and fall apart. Ethan Rutherford gets it. And yet they never let us forget that there's always the possibility that they will learn--even if it's the hard way--to see beyond themselves.


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Not all books of stories are page-turners, but this one is. His work creeps up on you when you're not looking. Eight masterful tales inject power, subtlety and emotion into an unforgettable cast of beleaguered, doomed characters.