"The Wanting Kind"

Eckl, Suzanne, Creative Writing - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Tilghman, Christopher, AS-Creative Writing, University of Virginia

The short story collection, The Wanting Kind, follows the frontier westward, from Texas to Oregon to Alaska, and from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Several of its stories exhibit a new American Spiritualism by fusing the mythologies of the Old World with that of the American West. Ghosts, too, traverse this re-imagined landscape, haunting those who dare call it home.

Writer Chris Tilghman described The Wanting Kind as exhibiting “a kind of corrupt individualism”—only when characters shed the burden of their loved ones can they survive. And yet, despite their loneliness, the characters populating this collection often find themselves deeply connected to the landscape. They express their wonderment at the “sky overhead like an anvil,” relishing its beauty even as it oppresses them. Stripped to their basest layers, these characters yearn for something they cannot name and give all they have to attain it.

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
Fiction, American West, frontier
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