A collection of raucous stories that offer a panoramic view of New Orleans from the author of the “stunning and audacious” (NPR) debut novel We Cast a Shadow
Maurice Carlos Ruffin has an uncanny ability to reveal the hidden corners of a place we thought we knew. These perspectival, character-driven stories center on the margins and are deeply rooted in New Orleanian culture.
In “Beg Borrow Steal,” a boy relishes time spent helping his father find work after coming home from prison; in “Ghetto University,” a couple struggling financially turns to crime after hitting rock bottom; in “Before I Let Go,” a woman who’s been in NOLA for generations fights to keep her home; in “Fast Hands, Fast Feet,” an army vet and a runaway teen find companionship while sleeping under a bridge; in “Mercury Forges,” a flash fiction piece among several in the collection, a group of men hurriedly make their way to an elderly gentleman’s home, trying to reach him before the water from Hurricane Katrina does; and in the title story, a young man works the street corners of the French Quarter, trying to achieve a freedom not meant for him.
These stories are intimate invitations to hear, witness, and imagine lives at once regional but largely universal, and undeniably New Orleanian, written by a lifelong resident of New Orleans and one of our finest new writers.
“The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You is an ode to all that makes us human. With an acute eye for beauty in seemingly hidden places, Maurice Carlos Ruffin shows us that having true empathy for others is not only transformative but necessary for our evolution as a people. Each story grabs your heart, squeezes the hell out of it, and then, somehow, makes it fuller. I couldn’t stop feeling. Ruffin is a writer whose work will make you a better person without your knowing it.”—Mateo Askaripour, author of Black Buck
“These short stories ring out like the bells of St. Louis Cathedral over Jackson Square. One of our great writers of place, Ruffin dazzles with this sonorous collection of deeply moving New Orleanian tales. Told with humor, insight, and radical empathy, these stories will linger in your heart and mind like the fading song of a brass band, vibrant and beautiful.”—Kali Fajardo-Anstine, author of Sabrina & Corina
“Ruffin, more than any of the greats I read, searches for that idea, that style, that genre we think is impossible to do well, and he makes it look easy. What he is doing in these short stories is breathtaking. They are so singular and so reliant on each other for wholeness. This is wonder writing.”—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy
Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of We Cast a Shadow, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Open Book Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and International Dublin Literary Award. A recipient of an Iowa Review Award in fiction, he has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, AGNI, the Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. A native of New Orleans, he is a graduate of the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop and a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance.
- Publisher: One World
- Publishing Date: Aug 17, 2021
- Pages: 192 Pages
- Dimension: 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 in
- ISBN: 9780593133408
- Alt: Maurice Ruffin, Ones Who Dont Say They Love You