The Temple of Air: Stories (Paperback)
Finalist for the CWA Book Award: Traditional Fiction
Winner of the 2012 Devil’s Kitchen Prose Readers Award
Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year
Linking the lives and tales of a place and its people through tragedy and consequence, blind faith and redemption, this collection of finely tuned short stories spans three decades to present a portrait of working class Americans. From babysitter and bus ticket salesman to construction worker and cult leader, the residents of New Hope—whose lives intersect after a tragic accident during a summer carnival—chase dreams and suffer disappointment against the subtle backdrop of a Midwestern landscape. The stories are unapologetic yet magical, bringing to life the daily struggle under the weight of war, natural disaster, illness, grief, and greed, even as the residents enjoy the comforts of solace, friendship, sex, love, ice cream, and the comics found wrapped around bubblegum.
Patricia Ann McNair is an associate professor in the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. She lives in Chicago.
“McNair’s plainspoken yet imaginative, complexly unnerving, and haunting stories raise essential questions of fate and will, appearances and truth, guilt and compassion.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist
“Stunning debut collection.” —www.thenervousbreakdown.com
“The stories . . . are steeped in a particular brand of hospitality and violence. They are definitively Midwestern, navigating deftly between the everyday and the disturbing, the prosaic and the poetic.” —NewCity Chicago
“What makes The Temple of Air such an immersive read is the depth McNair brings to a variety of characters, whether they are cynical teenagers or Bible-thumping adults.” —TimeOut Chicago
“The Temple of Air is bright, breezy, bold: a riveting debut.” —A. Manette Ansay, author, Blue Water
“The Temple of Air is a wise and masterful book.” —Dennis McFadden, author, Hart's Grove
“The Temple of Air is a collection of fever-dreams: often haunting, always beautiful. These are lyrical stories that sear themselves into the reader’s subconscious, and we are incredibly lucky to have them.” —John McNally, author, After the Workshop
“These stories speak to us in voices that are clear, urgent, tough, and shockingly wise. McNair’s The Temple of Air is about the spiritual resilience of endangered children, the survival methods of battered adults, and the presence of grace even in our ruined century.” —David Huddle, author, The Story of a Million Years