Earthquake Weather and Other Stories
Earthquake Weather and Other Stories was my second published book, and my first published book-length collection of short fiction. It was released in 1998 from Russian Hill Press. It's back in "print" in ebook format as of October 2012. There's a reason I brought these backlist titles out in ebook only: for those who prefer paper books, there are lots of hardcovers still to be had. Both Amazon and Barnes Noble online have out-of-print books listed, both new and used, and Abebooks.com is a good source as well.
In my own words:
It’s hard to write an “In my own words” for a collection of short stories, but I’ll just touch on a small handful of the eighteen different works offered here.
In “Dante,” a woman inherits a dangerous dog from her late married lover, Grant. Dante is not dangerous to her, just to anyone who tries to get near her. Now the question is whether that’s what Grant had intended all along.
In “Mrs. Mulvaney, the Grasshopper God,” an older woman has a spiritual experience that causes her to swear off the mowing of her lawn. But it drives her neighbor Mr. Felker—who found her lawn a touch unkempt to begin with—right over the edge.
In “Red Texas Sky,” Charley, a young boy who’s been plagued by nightmares since witnessing the death of his father, gets help from an unexpected source. His mother brings home a new boyfriend, Teddy, an alcoholic Vietnam vet who takes Charley on a mission to face his fears in hopes of leaving the nightmares behind.
All of these stories have been published in literary magazines, and many have been nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O’Henry Award and the Pushcart Prize.
Here's what the reviewers said about Earthquake Weather:
Publisher's Weekly said, "Each of the 18 stories in this strong collection by Hyde (Funerals for Horses) holds a dangerous emotional temptation for its protagonist. These roughed-up characters put us in mind of Raymond Carver's, while the smell of hungry desperation that seeps through the work recalls the stories of Joyce Carol Oates. Hyde's ability to fix our attention fully to each piece bodes well for future work."
San Jose Mercury News said, "...a strong, finely-wrought collection from Catherine Ryan Hyde. The characters are well-drawn without falling into western stereotypes; the dialogue is right on target."
The San Luis Obispo Tribune said, "Catherine Ryan Hyde writes with refreshing precision. She captures a scene or a character with the barest of flourishes, revealing as much with what she doesn't say as with what she does. Every word counts. Empathy is everywhere in this book... And perhaps that's what's so striking about this collection: In your heart, you can see yourself in most every character. Sometimes that's frightening, and sometimes it's kind of nice. Either way it's a good read."
New Times said, "Earthquake Weather is a kaleidoscopic treasure...there are so many emotions in these stories, such depth to the feelings...Her writing brings us into the lives of such varied people...and she makes us understand and even care for them as only a talented wordsmith could."
Rain Taxi said, "This collection of eighteen short stories showcases the considerable talent of Catherine Ryan Hyde, who conducts a clinic in characterization on nearly every page."