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Selected for Dzanc Books rEprint Series

Stealing the Fire


In her first collection, award winning writer Jane Ciabattari explores the aftershocks of life changes—the loss of a father, a husband, an unborn child, an all-consuming job—and the illuminations that make hope possible. Set in Central America, Montauk, Montreal, New York City, Northern California and Vancouver, these haunting stories throb with the joys and pains of real life.

"If the stories in Jane Ciabattari's collection have a connecting thread, it is a thematic one: the pain of loss in all its forms. This is not to say that a black cloud hovers over them. In fact, there is something vivifying and hopeful that infuses them, as well. Nor do they seem like case studies in a psychotherapist's journal of treatment. They are acutely perceived and well-told tales that have the breath of life in them. These stories are not thinly disguised autobiography...Protagonists are men and women, young and old, from all walks of life and every part of the country. One cannot but be impressed with how vividly each comes to life. There is not one story that does not in some way satisfy the centuries-old need for narrative. Nor is there one story that does not succeeed on some level... Ciabattari's prose is as clear as a pane of glass, Orwell's concept of what a writer should strive for. But she has a gift for the telling phrase. This is a collection of great emotional power and depth."--The Southampton Press

"There is plenty of mayhem for fans of dark fiction in the pages of Long Island Noir: shootings, killings, all manner of brutality...Suburbia may be even meaner than the big city." --The New York Times. "In Jane Ciabattari’s “Contents of House,” the victim of a mean-spirited divorce seeks a very tasty revenge."--Publishers Weekly.