Children of God
Place Published: Braddock, PA
Publisher: Braddock Avenue Books
Date Published: May 2019
Widely known as a masterful storyteller, David H. Lynn is also the highly regarded editor of The Kenyon Review. In this probing collection of new and selected stories, Lynn brings his keen eye and astute sense of drama and narrative to bear on the complex currents of human existence, exploring how the ideas we use to give purpose to our lives, whether they be modest or grand, are all too often set on unstable terrain. In the O’Henry Award-winning “Divergence” a college professor discovers after a freak cycling accident that the carefully assembled details of the most treasured part of his life—his thoughts and emotions—have been irretrievably altered . . . and along with them everything he ever knew about himself. In “Mistaken Identity” a poet frequently taken for a more famous counterpart of the same name, makes a rash decision to fraudulently accept an invitation for a reading tour in India in a desperate attempt to remake her life. And in the title story, a playful exchange turns menacing as an American child in Delhi has his sense of normalcy overturned when he learns the hard way that privilege has its limits. As Flannery O’Connor Prize Series Editor, Nancy Zafris, puts it: “…these stories dare to assume multiple cultural identities. They dare to assume the reader of being sophisticated and curious, as intelligent and thrilled by language as the author himself.”
From his first volume, Fortune Telling (1998), to his most recent, Year of Fire and Other Stories (2006), this collection presents thirteen stories from “A master of the ambivalent resolution” (Ellen Loughran, Booklist), displaying a breadth of cultural insight and emotional resonance that lovers of the short story won’t soon forget.
Praise for Children of God
In this immersive collection David Lynn shows himself expert in charting the subtle shifts of internal weather that condition the climate of our lives. In India or America, home or away, we are under the skin of his characters, close to their pulse. Alert and perceptive, Lynn is a fine craftsman, who leaves his reader both wiser and more unsettled.
—Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
There’s no rushing in the work of David Lynn. He takes his good time telling us his stories, which he seems to discover as he writes them. The result is magical. We find ourselves transformed into Coleridge’s wedding guest, held in the thrall of tales, like the Ancient Mariner’s, that deal with the human essentials - courage, cowardice, fear, self-inspection, love. In the title story, “Children of God,” in “Year of Fire,” “Naming the Stones,” “Mistaken Identity” and the breathtaking “Divergence”—in all the stories, really—Lynn writes with a sympathy, an intelligence, and a touch so beautifully subtle, we are aware of a story’s power only after we’ve finished, and we realize we’ve been someplace we’ve never been before, even if we’ve lived there all our lives. This is a wondrous collection.
—Roger Rosenblatt, author of Making Toast and Thomas Murphy: A Novel
The stories in Children of God are graceful and astute, beautifully written and keenly intelligent. David Lynn has given readers a collection to celebrate.
—Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto
In Children of God, David Lynn reveals just how deeply he understands, as one story so perfectly puts it, "the fragility of this enterprise. Living." These are complex, richly-rewarding stories that reveal a mastery of detail, line after amazing line, leading you toward an understanding of what it means to be alive.
—Kevin Wilson, author of Baby You’re Going to Be Mine and The Family Fang: A Novel
This is a terrific collection. What is most impressive is the way Lynn renders deeply and sharply the lives of these people while keeping a calm hand over all. There are no tricks here, no literary high jinks or post-modern acrobatics. There are only heartbreaking stories of people about whom we grow to care, no matter their caste or calling, their family or fortune. These stories matter.
—Bret Lott, author of Jewel and The Difference Between Women and Men
David H. Lynn is the author of two earlier collections of stories, Year of Fire, published by Harcourt, and Fortune Telling, from Carnegie Mellon University Press. A 2016 recipient of an O. Henry Prize for the story “Divergence,” he is also the author of Wrestling with Gabriel, a novel, and The Hero's Tale: Narrators in the Early Modern Novel, a critical study. His stories and essays have appeared in magazines and journals in the U.S., the U.K., India, and Australia. Since 1994 he has been the editor of The Kenyon Review, an international journal of literature, culture and the arts. A Professor of English at Kenyon College, David Lynn lives in Gambier, Ohio with his wife, Wendy Singer, a distinguished historian of India.