A Record of Our Debts


Short Stories by Laura Hendrix Ezell
205 pages
4 ¾” x 7 ½”
978-0-913785-72-0 (paper)
April 2016


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Winner of the 2015 Moon City Short Fiction Prize

In her debut collection of stories, Laura Hendrix Ezell assembles a harmonious chorus of resilient female voices—many speaking from the margins of their own lives, all contemplating their complicated relationships with the men who influence their trajectories. Set against rural backdrops whose emptiness and isolation hint at constrictive forces rather than wide open spaces, Ezell’s stories capture their characters not only at their most vulnerable and desperate, but also at essential moments of self-discovery, of purposeful recognition of the extenuating circumstances that have shaped their respective fates.

Throughout A Record of Our Debts, Ezell weaves together diverse, distinctive tales with remarkably fluid yet muscular prose that belies the desolate imagery contained within. These are striking, memorable odes to overcoming, though not always in ways that leave the characters whole. These are people who somehow manage to find themselves in the aftermath of loss, who uncover their own modest strengths while surrounded by so much weakness. This is a long, winding road of adolescents forced into prostitution by their own fathers, healers still haunted by the men they could not save, and widows who convert abandoned churches into makeshift diners in the hopes of luring back their husbands’ spirits. In short, this is a powerful exploration of the human spirit at both its best and its worst.

Ezell’s figures extend well off the page, lingering in one’s memory long after the final line. For that, readers owe Ezell a debt of gratitude.

Laura Hendrix Ezell’s work has appeared in Mid-America Review, McSweeney’s, and The Kenyon Review. She lives in Cookville, Tennessee.

“Faulkner liked to say he was the sole proprietor of this postage stamp of land, but Laura Hendrix Ezell has taken up that deed, claims that title in this evocative collection of gothic-fried claustrophobic domestic set pieces that sing and sting. A Record of Our Debts records the whole catastrophe right on out to the savage selvage, the serrated deckle edge of existential cancelation where on[e] can’t lick the abundant loneliness and the unrequited redemption. Be pleased to welcome this new kid on the block who is also a chip off that old one.”
—Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and Winesburg, Indiana

“The stories in A Record of Our Debts are hypnotic and visceral, ethereal and mysterious, yet very much of our sensual, sometimes sinister world. Laura Hendrix Ezell’s imagination reveals itself as a thing of beauty and power on every page of this remarkable debut. It’s very hard to believe that it’s her first. Brava.”
—Christine Sneed, author of Little Known Facts and Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry

Distributed for Moon City Press.

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