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Foreign Climes

About this book

Winner of the Brighthorse Books Award


The stories in Foreign Climes are linked by place, or more exactly by the strangeness of new places, new territories both geographical and psychological. They proceed from a young person's sense of boundaries to an older person's breaking through boundaries-and then beyond, to a voice that constructs the world by way of possibilities both found and left unexplored.

           Some of the stories take their protagonists literally to strange, unsteady ground. A teenaged narrator travels from leafy North Carolina to the desert to engage in battle against a boy he calls "Minnesota," a stand-in for a greater battle against his parents' dissolving marriage. A young Pashtun woman from northern Pakistan finds herself in cold New England amid the overwhelming landscape of her own desire. An American working abroad struggles to find her place in a relationship that seems unbound by language.

         Other stories encounter alienation closer to home. A swaggering poker shark confronts a brutality unleashed by the exploitive nature of his world. A woman leaving her marriage finds an entire life in the lineaments of a house she'll never inhabit. A mother crosses a chasm to reach a son steeped in mania.

"People don't change," the poet Charles Olsen wrote. "They only stand more revealed." These stories reveal the heart and the potential of the people within them by thrusting them into those places of discomfort and exhilaration that leave us all naked before the world.


What People Are Saying


"The geographic breadth of Foreign Climes is only the beginning of its power. What makes the collection stunning is Ferriss's ability to go deep inside her characters, to the hidden places where we are foreign to those closest to us and even to ourselves, inviting profound reckoning." -- Dawn Raffel, author of The Strange Case of Dr. Couney


"Foreign Climes is a dazzling new collection, ranging far and wide in setting, theme, and characters. Lucy Ferriss is marvelously skilled, a true master of the craft who offers subtle surprises in every story. Never a false move, in a book readers will surely treasure." -- Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of Truthtelling