Q&A with Lara Stapleton

From Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb

Q: How was the book’s title chosen, and what does it signify for you?

A: The Ruin of Everything comes from lines in two stories, “The Other Realm” and “Godspeed.” They’re both from lines in which the narrator is locating the beginning of the end of her relationship.

Both times, the narrator truly feels like a victim of a series of events, and in both stories, as in many stories in the collection, the stories themselves hint that the ruin comes from some childhood heartbreak that created her clumsy intimacy.

All along she expects such loss, and I find the question interesting: is she creating these circumstances? Is it all as inevitable as she sees it to be? I’m unsure often, but I like creating the question.

Continue reading.

New release: The Ruin of Everything

THE RUIN OF EVERYTHING
Stories

LARA STAPLETON

ISBN: 9781734496550
Library of Congress Control Number: 2021932139
Pages: 123
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Distributors: Ingram, Paloma Press, Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books Inc. & select book stores
Price: $18

PALOMA PRESS RELEASES THE RUIN OF EVERYTHING

San Mateo, October 19, 2021 — Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of The Ruin of Everything, a short story collection by Lara Stapleton, author of the critically acclaimed, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing.

The Ruin of Everything tells tales of abandoned children living in adult bodies. Bastards, bi-racial half-siblings, and orphans raised by aunts, they lose their last best love through brokenness like “the impossible loop in a stress dream.” Racial ambiguity abounds and confounds US color lines. Tones stretch from lugubrious sorrow to wicked dramedy. Obstinately fluid in architecture and identity, stories range from slick Hollywood glam to essayistic musings, from traditional immigrant realism, to rehearsals of autofiction that grow more metatextual as the book goes along. Just as we think we’ve learned how to read Stapleton’s stories, they shapeshift. And yet, the pieces reflect each other, a sad-clown funhouse hall of mirrors. Through wanton experiments with character, The Ruin of Everything asks us what is important to a tale and what it means to be American in country and continents. Lovers of Clarice Lispector and Luisa Valenzuela will find much to admire here.

“An Anaïs Nin of late capitalism’s bohemia, Lara Stapleton writes like an oracle of an underworld—of miscegenated loves and translocated broken souls—of characters unaware or ruinously conscious—and she inscribes that world in us with lust and wit and always that deep joy that encompasses sorrows bred in the bone, the race, the colors of one’s skin, the heart, and of course the tongue: the word.”
Gina Apostol, author of Insurrecto

“With a keen eye for human ambitions and human frailties, Stapleton brings us the comic turmoil of characters steeped in the sorrows and absurdities of modern life; reaching for connection and erring, reaching for home and missing. Brimming with hard-edged loneliness, these stories reach into the underbellies of our deepest hopes and fears.”
Laurel Flores Fantauzzo, author of My Heart Underwater

“If you could read only one of the nine short stories, “New” makes the release of the entire book worthwhile. And “Flesh and Blood” also passed my key test as not just a reader but a writer: the story made me want to run to my own pen or keyboard to write. The stories are engaging but the writing is also a writer’s writer’s delight: the characterizations are not just deep but sumptuous, structures are not just innovative but fresh, and narratives are both finely detailed but interspersed with psychological caesuras for maximizing the reader’s inhabitance.”
Eileen Tabios, author of DoveLion

“Stapleton often eschews the traditional arc of storytelling. Some read like expanded character sketches, though the story is IN the characters. This is not to say the narratives lack emotions — they are embedded in each character, affirmed or denied by their respective coteries. After all, aren’t we the sum of all lives we touched and denied?”
Victor Velasco, poet & fiction writer

“Stapleton appears to have set out to navigate crisscrossing lives by simply allowing the characters, especially the I-persona, to adjudicate between everyday instances of hope and anguish… The navigation is skillfully conducted through shifting maps of loneliness, angst, and the occasional ruin of everything. The inherent intricacies develop a matrix of resultant debris that keeps the story-telling in the throes of deep engagement.”
Alfred Yuson, literary critic and author of The Music Child

“The real pleasure of this book lies in Stapleton’s irrepressible approach to narrative structure. Long, loose chains of events culminate in volta-like swerves…. these endings refashion early meanderings in thrilling flashes.”
The New York Times

About the author:

Lara photo by Renee Rogoff

LARA STAPLETON is the author of the short story collection, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant for Writers, a two-time winner of the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Award for Fiction and winner of the Columbia Journal Fiction Prize.

Virtual book release party, Oct 19 at 5pm PST/8pm EST. 

The Flesh and Blood book party, Oct 22, 7pm EST, 3 Bleecker St NYC. 

For more information, please email editor[at]palomapress.net.


Congratulations, Lara Stapleton!

Congratulations to Lara Stapleton who has just been accepted to La Chispa’s International Artist in Residency Program in Medellin! LARA STAPLETON is the author of the short story collection, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein FoundationContinue reading “Congratulations, Lara Stapleton!”

Paloma books in libraries

You can check these out today! Library of CongressClose Apart by Robert Cowan (poetry)Shellback by Jeanne-Marie Osterman (poetry)*Seven Skirts by Jacki Rigoni (poetry)The Good Mother of Marseille by Christopher X. Shade (novel)Shield the Joyous by Christopher X. Shade (poetry)The Ruin of Everything by Lara Stapleton (short stories)Pagpag: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora by EileenContinue reading “Paloma books in libraries”

The Free Lance-Star reviews TRoE

Nicholas Addison Thomas of The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg reviews Lara Stapleton’s The Ruin of Everything: “It’s easy to see why Lara Stapleton has won several awards for her writing. Few authors can explore the human condition with such force that it raises eyebrows and stirs the soul simultaneously. “Find out for yourself by readingContinue reading “The Free Lance-Star reviews TRoE”

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TAYO: Filipino Americans of San Mateo County

Who are we as a people, beyond lumpia and adobo? What’s important to us? And how do we honor the land and our history in the diaspora?

Featuring Kimberley Acebo Arteche, Dado & Maria Banatao, Jo Boston, Gio Cuevas, Emily Danuco, Althea De Guzman, Allen Mata, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Chef Reina Montenegro, Councilmember Flor Nicolas, Christine Padilla, and Leora Tanjuatco Ross share stories of resilience and being Pin@y in San Mateo County.

Produced by Aileen Cassinetto, in partnership with the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, in celebration of Filipino American History Month.

browngirlbooklover interview with Lara Stapleton

Leslie-Ann Murray (@browngirlbooklover) interviews Lara Stapleton

BGBL: Why is diversity in the literary industry important?

LS: “I like what Shonda Rhimes said about it, “It’s normalizing.” Part of being humane is understanding that everybody’s stories are important.

People of privilege think that their expensive education gives them more of a right to these stories than others, and at the same time not they don’t really support societal shifts that give people enough education and confidence to easily take ownership over their stories.

Diversity in literature is important because human beings are important and because there are so many interesting stories to be told.”

Watch the interview here.

The Writers Room Spotlights Osterman

Writers Room Executive Director Donna Brodie recently interviewed
Jeanne-Marie Osterman. What inspired Shellback? And what’s a “shellback”? Continue reading.

“My three themes—the love between parent and child, the tragedies of war, and caring for a parent in old age—are themes I think a lot of people can relate to. To help the manuscript hold together, I made them my focus.”