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A Tendency to Be Gone: Stories

A Tendency to Be Gone traces the private pathways of obsession, destruction, and redemption.

These fifteen stories transport us into realms as varied as the language that tells these tales. With sentences that are plain and precise, or lush and illuminating, we journey through a topography of the heart.

"We are too much in the open here", says the narrator of "Hovenweep" visiting the Canyonlands and finding her life laid bare against a landscape of desolation. In "Tendrils, As It Were," the ribbons that bind a wedding bouquet unravel as surely as the marriage does. "Arroyo" takes the reader on a road trip through the desert and into a relationship that is "past the point of pulling over, turning back." In "Solstice," a coal miner’s wife busies herself with ordinary chores rendered luminous while she awaits her husband’s return from the "everlasting winters of the pit." The explorers of "Overland" search for the source of a river in terrain as tangled as their motives, while the purpose of the expedition disintegrates. The off-kilter bishop of "In the Matter of the Prioress" accuses a nun of unearthly seductions, but cannot help divulge his own obsession. In "A Tendency to Be Gone," a recluse portrays isolation in the language of enchantments, and reveals the talismans that keep her secrets safe. "Seraphim" delivers us to a mediaeval convent as plague sweeps the Continent, and its inhabitants face the devastation to come. Ryder’s stories fling the reader ever farther through territories unchartered, and into the literary habitations of uncertainty.


"When Ryder offers you a furrow, and this she will do, this she will do, here’s my advice: not to tarry, not to resist; hasten, instead, to fetch yourself down into the narrows with her, and find there a sensorium unlikely to crop up in your experience without your having the luck of her fastidious companionship in the lead. Ryder is a vigilance, a pervigilance, a field guide with scruples on every page."

-- Gordon Lish

"There is a powerful alchemy at work in these stories, transforming everyday words and giving them new life, luster, and meaning. Ryder's is the rare and wonderful prose."
-- Lydia Peelle

A Tendency to Be Gone is published by Dzanc Books,