Fiction. Described as a "...collective of love and longing, of disappointment and loss and, ultimately, faith" by William Lychack, John Vanderslice's new novel, NOUS NOUS, lays out a dark vision of the awful human consequences a community faces when one man's small world is shattered. Never especially kind or lovable, Lawrence Baine's life is radically changed with the birth of his daughter, Paige. She is the one thing that this career middle manager doesn't hold in cynical disregard. Instead, she inspires a reason for him to be the best possible version of himself. Indeed, for a brief time, Baine sees, through her life, a hopeful vision of the future—until the unthinkable happens: Paige is kidnapped and brutally murdered by those who should have had her best interests at heart.
Across town, Elizabeth Riddle, a recently divorced Episcopal priest, tries to guide the diminished fortunes of her church at the same time as she manages her children's experience of divorce. Worn down by the effort, she is blind-sided when her own daughter is kidnapped from her school's playground.
Set in small-town Arkansas, and told through multiple voices, Nous Nous brings together these two damaged lives with all the poignancy—and painful absurdity—of our 21st century lives.
John Vanderslice teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas. His stories, essays, poems, and one-act plays have appeared in dozens of literary journals, including Sou'wester, South Carolina Review, Crazyhorse, 1966, Exquisite Corpse, and Seattle Review. His recent books include the historical novel The Last Days of Oscar Wilde (Burlesque Press, 2018) and a linked short story collection called Island Fog (Lavender Ink, 2014).Author City: CONWAY, AR USA