Dust of the Universe

tales of family

Family. Inescapable, universal, defining.  Whether near or far, family can evoke feelings of love or resentment, trust or regret—but never indifference.

In sixteen unforgettable stories, V.S. Kemanis lays bare the conflicts and joys of family life, exploring the depth and intractability of interpersonal relationships. A mysterious aunt is buried with a dark family secret, leaving a clue as her only legacy. A single mom struggles to care for a severely disabled child, asking herself, “What if?” A teenager’s friend, invited along for a family vacation, slips away and disappears into the resort town. A child coping with the loss of her father clings to an imaginary friend who becomes all too real.

These tales and more, from an “unarguably gifted” writer of “great talent” [SP Reviews], make Dust of the Universe a reading experience brimming with exultant and devastating emotions that only family can bring.

Commended book, SPR Awards 2014

Smiling, he shifted his gaze to discover Penny, fighting tears. “If only Stanley would say something like that!” She sniffed. “We all know it for ourselves, don’t we, but wouldn’t it be nice the other way around? Wouldn’t it be nice just to know when love is returned?”

—from Like Love

“How far away is Zorq?”

“Oh, at least a million light years.”

Jon thinks a while, imagining life on Zorq, the fascinating aliens his father has conjured so many evenings at bedtime.

—from Dust of the Universe

“My father was in the Latvian border guard and we owned a 300-acre farm. They took most of our land in 1940 and left only 30 acres, but they didn’t take us. They were disorganized, and that could be the only reason we didn’t end up in Siberia.”

—from My Latvian Aunt

“I declare this before the entire family!” Mommy’s cheeks were pink from the wine. “When I’m gone, my husband should marry again! I give him my permission and blessing!” Only moments before, she’d declared a lack of interest in acquiring a new (old) husband if Phil should be the first to go.

—from Everything We Do