True Places Never Are 

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In her debut collection, winner of the 2014 Moon City Short Fiction Award, Cate McGowan introduces us to a passenger manifest, an assortment of characters voyaging through loss and salvation. The book’s title borrows from Melville’s Moby Dick: “It is not down in any map; true places never are.” McGowan’s characters are off the chart; they venture into wondrous worlds as knotty and distressing as the places they aim to leave. With poetic prose and a flashlight pointed at the dark spots in her characters' souls, McGowan gives us nineteen tales located in a colony of laundromats and the Louvre; of mule pulls and boxing rings; of Georgia red clay and city cobblestones. Populating these realms is an unusual hodgepodge of everyman—children, men, and women who inhabit different eras and countries, all seeking deliverance. They occupy the aftermath of tragedy. True places are indeed hard to find in this collection, yet hope is every person’s traveling companion. In True Places Never Are, McGowan reminds us redemption is not that far away. This book will take you to places you never dreamed of going and aren't quite sure you want to stay, but you won't regret the journey.

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