This new collection of linked short stories from award-winning author Jeff Fearnside explores the lives of ordinary people in Kazakhstan as they face the challenges of post-Soviet transition in the early 21st century. These stories illuminate the soul of a people tested by their circumstances: a man struggling between tradition and his conscience, a woman remembering her coming of age during perestroika, a woman who through memory comes to identify with "the other," a husband and wife who seek reconciliation through the words they've used to hurt, and a grandfather who lost his loved ones and now must face his past.
Jeff Fearnside is the author of two full-length books, the short story collection Making Love While Levitating Three Feet in the Air (Stephen F. Austin State University Press) and the essay collection Ships in the Desert (forthcoming from the SFWP Press). His work has appeared widely in literary journals such as The Paris Review, Los Angeles Review, Story, The Pinch, and The Sun. Awards for his writing include a Grand Prize in the Santa Fe Writers Project's Literary Awards Program, the Mary Mackey Short Story Prize, and an Individual Artist Fellowship award from the Oregon Arts Commission. Fearnside lived in Central Asia for four years and has taught writing and literature at the Academy of Languages in Kazakhstan and various institutions in the U.S.
"Literature's best magic trick may be to entice us to enter lives/countries/cultures we otherwise have no access to—in this case contemporary Kazakhstan—whereupon we immediately recognize the Kazakh version of ourselves. In these poignant, good-humored, heart-breaking, and well-crafted stories, fiery women attempt to hold their own against toxic masculinity, tribalism dies hard, if at all, and the human heart most wants something to believe in." - Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country
"In this beautiful, solemn collection of stories, Jeff Fearnside has employed Chekovian precision to bring to life a place of transition and turmoil, its people holding to the traditions of old as a new world forms around them in all its damning weight and splendor, each tale intimate and soulful and profound. This book is moving and thoughtful, delivering insights into love and war and family and country with the depth and sincerity found only in the best of literature." - Alan Heathcock, author of VOLT and 40
"Jeff Fearnside's A Husband and Wife Are One Satan captures everyday life in the Republic of Kazakhstan, a place that feels darkly different and hilariously familiar. Rich with memorable characters and stark beauty, Fearnside's stories are deft in their crafting, and often they pivot from funny to bleak in a flash. The truths here, of what it is to be a human being, are universal and a joy to read." - Margaret Malone, author of People Like You
"Jeff Fearnside is a writer of great range, complication, and empathy. Rooted in place, awash in history, often cornered by cultural expectations, his characters are nevertheless living, breathing human beings, possessed of their own desires and dreams, their own failures and heroisms. I only wish there were more of these stories." - Joe Wilkins, author of Fall Back Down When I Die and The Mountain and the Fathers