The Empty House

The Empty House and Other Stories


Winner of the 2012 Spokane Prize, The Empty House contains eleven stories that have been published in The Antioch Review, Witness, the Alaska Quarterly Review, and Hot Metal Bridge.  Two of the stories, including the title story, were anthologized in The Best American Mystery Stories (2008, 2012).  The collection was in early 2014 and is now available.

From the northern wilderness of Alaska to the mountains of Guatemala, from rural Ireland to war-torn Haiti and beyond, the characters in these award-winning stories travel with dreams of escape but find themselves ensnared by cultural misunderstandings, political strife, and the weight of family: a professor heads to Ireland with his wife and children, hoping to mend his broken marriage; a father and son find themselves caught up in a near civil war in Haiti; a young man travels to Guatemala, trying to understand what happened to his brother who disappeared there years before. These characters walk the fine line between safety and danger, good and evil, life and death, and on their way find their truest selves revealed.

Nathan Oates is an extraordinary young writer whose collection is utterly remarkable. His stories are dense and intricate, very close to the heart, taking us to places we’ve never been and will never be. In Oates’s skilled hands these are works rendered perfectly by a master of place, character, action, a writer with a stunningskill set. The Empty House announces the arrival of an astonishing new voice on the literary scene. —Frederick Barthelme, editor and publisher of New World Writing

Nothing is wasted in a Nathan Oates story. The plots are brisk, the stakes are high, the characters want things, and we want them to get what they want. The pages of The Empty House turn so quickly that the reader finishes the book with the best sort of complaint: Why couldn’t it last a little longer? – Kyle Minor, author of In the Devil’s Territory and Praying Drunk


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