Anthony Varallo is assistant professor of English at the College of Charleston, South Carolina. His first short story collection This Day in History, won the 2005 John Simmons Short Fiction Award. The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, Varallo’s stories have appeared in Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Epoch, and Harvard Review, among other publications.
WINNER OF THE 2008 DRUE HEINZ LITERATURE PRIZE
Selected by Scott Turow
Feeling distanced from her friends and family, middle-aged divorcee Caitlin Drury is encouraged by her daughter to express her feelings in a diary, but she is hesitant: I feel lonely she wrote, then crossed it out. She didn’t like the idea of someone coming along later to read her journal, finding out she felt lonely. “Like That,” and other stories from Anthony Varallo’s new collection Out Loud give voice to the disconnections of family and relationships, and the silent emotions that often speak louder than words.
In “The Walkers,” we follow a couple on their daily trek through a bedroom community, where they partially glimpse their neighbors’ lives, longing for inclusion. Yet their insular lifestyle ensures that they deal with people only on the surface–without learning the truth of their problems.
Out Loud tells of longings for meaningful expression and the complexities and escapism of human interactions that keep us from these truths. Varallo uses the trials of youth and remembrances of the past, the rituals and routines of the everyday, the interactions of family, friends, teachers, and neighbors to peel away the layers of language and actions we use to shield ourselves.