"Easily ranks among the best fiction I've read this year." --David Abrams
"If you've come to look for America, it's here in The Big Impossible. Taut, urgent, emotionally powerful stories about the families, workers, and dreamers who are our neighbors, and Delaney's range and sense of history make him the perfect writer to illuminate their lives." --Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
The short fiction in Ted Delaney's new collection explores guilt and redemption, aspiration and failure, and the stubbornness of modest hopes. The usual mileposts are fading, and choice is in the context of institutions and assumptions that are no longer holding steady.
In "Clean," a man waits for inevitable justice to come, as much as it will play against him. In "House of Sully," a working-class family navigates the tumultuous year that 1968 was, as new perceptions shake long-held and dependable, if sometimes misguided, beliefs. Other stories examine the inner life of a school shooter, the comical posturing of writers at a literary party, a British veteran of The Great War living at a Florida retirement home but haunted by his losses, and a man's bittersweet visits to past lives via Google Street View. In the sequence set in the West, an itinerant worker moves across the Great Plains, navigating stark landscapes, trying for foothold.
The Atlantic's C. Michael Curtis praised Ted Delaney's debut collection for its "moral intensity . . . in the tradition of writers as varied as Ethan Canin and William Trevor." Two decades later Delaney returns to the short fiction form with utter mastery.