by Christine Rice
Publication Date: March 2016
Trade Paper; 372 pages; 5-1/4" x 8"
Back Cover Copy for Swarm Theory
It was a time of hippies, heroin, and All in the Family. It was a time, in the small town of New Canaan—a fictional town in mid-Michigan—when developers gobbled up farmland and spit out subdivisions.
Against this backdrop, Swarm Theory’s interlocking narratives reveal the troubled lives of Astrid (a young woman trying to hold her family together), Caroline (Astrid’s best friend who has lost her mother to heroin), Will (a soldier struggling to make sense of life after being discharged from the Marines), and Father Maurice Silver (a priest caring for a young man dying of AIDS).
Nothing in New Canaan is quite what it seems.
Swarm Theory is a book that reveals life’s amazing contradictions—the wonderful and the profane, devotion and infidelity, understanding and revenge—through stories told from different perspectives. These stories investigate what happens when people come together—whether to do admirable or horrific things. Here, intimates and strangers alike can’t help but be intertwined; their unpredictable journeys providing a backdrop for characters complex, honorable, and not.
Swarm Theory reveals our often misguided, dark, and life-sustaining dependency on each other.
Praise For Swarm Theory:
“Christine Rice’s novel-in-stories Swarm Theory is like a mosaic handmade from slivers of broken bottles, bits of razorblades, and shards from funhouse mirrors; it is beautiful and startling, shining and dark. The residents of New Canaan, Michigan—a fictional suburb stuck somewhere between Flint and Detroit, between dream and despair—live their damaged lives as best they can. In captivating, skillful prose that is thick with all kinds of knowledge and with realism and magic, Rice creates a place both unique and familiar. New Canaan is a microcosm of our nation’s industry and failures. But despite the hard times of this small Midwestern town, of this particular era of our last century, Rice’s characters are mostly resilient. In these stories that braid and twist, that buzz and sting, New Canaan’s inhabitants struggle, and sometimes—remarkably, gloriously—they survive.” —Patricia Ann McNair, The Temple of Air
“With joyful, violent beauty, Christine Rice’s Swarm Theory will seduce you from the first sentence, the first startling image, and by the last you’ll be grateful to have read every inspired word (and fiercely impressed by Rice’s talent). These are stories to be cherished, shared, and discussed, and read over and over.” —Christine Sneed, author of Paris, He Said, and Little Known Facts
“Christine Rice’s Swarm Theory casts a brilliant light on the loneliness and loves of New Canaan, Michigan, a town she’s thoroughly imagined and rebuilt in this inspired novel-in-stories. With the greatest empathy and insight, Rice has created a cast of memorable characters—visionaries, losers, rebels, and thieves—their lives both mythic and mundane. In the tradition of Carson McCullers and Sherwood Anderson, Rice has given us the small town as universe.” —René Steinke, author of Friendswood, Holy Skirts, and The Fires
“I was absolutely enthralled. Christine Rice’s masterful use of the novel-in-story form dropped me straight into the hearts of her characters and, like the most perfect puzzle, wove their lives and longings together into a total page-turner. I found myself talking out loud (“No, Astrid, don’t!” and “Caroline, get out of there!”). I hoped for them, shared their devastation. As a reader, I was in it. And as a writer, I’ll go back again and again, trying to figure out how the hell Rice just did that.” —Megan Stielstra, Once I Was Cool