But it eventually becomes clear that things are unraveling elsewhere as well, as strangers, violent and desperate alike, begin to appear in the North End, spreading word of social and political deterioration in the South End and beyond. Faced with a growing disruption to his isolated life, the narrator discovers within himself a surprising need to resist losing the home he has created in this empty place. He and the rest of the citizens of the North End must choose whether to face outsiders as invaders or welcome them as neighbors.
The City Where We Once Lived is a haunting novel of the near future that combines a prescient look at how climate change and industrial flight will shape our world with a deeply personal story of one man running from his past. With glowing prose, Eric Barnes brings into sharp focus questions of how we come to call a place home and what is our capacity for violence when that home becomes threatened.
AuthorBy Eric Barnes
Published27 March 2018
Dimensions6.00 x 9.00in.
About the author
Eric Barnes is the author of the novels Shimmer, an IndieNext Pick from Unbridled Books, and Something Pretty, Something Beautiful from Outpost19, which The Millions called a "remarkable book . . . where cars are freedom, stories are everything, and home is thick with ghosts." He has also published nearly forty short stories in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, The Literary Review, Best American Mystery Stories, and other publications. By day, he is publisher of newspapers in Memphis and Nashville that cover business, politics, the arts and more. On Fridays, he hosts a news talk show on his local PBS. In the past, he was a reporter and editor in Connecticut and New York. Years ago he drove a forklift in Tacoma, Washington, and then Kenai, Alaska, worked construction on Puget Sound, and, many years ago, he graduated from the MFA writing program at Columbia University.
"Barnes’s violent, haunted, and creepy novel about failing societies will attract readers of dark, postapocalyptic fiction."—Library Journal
"Barnes's new novel is a rare and truly original work: a hard-edged fable, tender and unflinching, in which a man's descent and renewal is mirrored by his city. An eerie, beautifully written, and profoundly humane book."—Emily St. John Mandel, author of National Book Award finalist Station Eleven
"Written in a gorgeously spare language that perfectly reflects the dystopic future this novel depicts, The City Where We Once Lived kept me enthralled throughout. At the its core is a deep and admirable compassion for humanity."—Chris Offutt, author of Country Dark
"A stunningly-written tale of loss and grief. The stark beauty of Barnes's prose will pull you into a post-apocalyptic wasteland that is at once utterly foreign and hauntingly familiar. The City Where We Once Lived is a riveting journey through devastation, but one that delivers a world where seeds of hope emerge in the unlikeliest of places. It is a story of our time, but also timeless. It is a story of one man, but a story that speaks to each of us and for all of us. It is a story that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page." –Lindsay Moran, national bestselling author of Blowing My Cover
“An intensely envisioned work of dystopian realism and American desolation, beautifully drawn from the slow-motion apocalypse of everyday life.”—Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas
“Eric Barnes's The City Where We Once Lived is a most original novel, surprising and fierce—a dazzling puzzle of grief and utopia, dystopia and hope.”—Minna Zallman Proctor, author of Landslide "Spare and elegant, this novel brings into breathtaking relief a frighteningly recognizable future. Eric Barnes shows us what it means to inhabit—a building, a city, a life. And also what it means to be inhabited—by memories, by ghosts, and maybe, just maybe, by hope." —Elise Blackwell, author of The Lower Quarter and Hunger
"A controlled burn of a book, full of horror and sadness and, once the fire dies down, the beauty of new growth. In the tradition of J. G. Ballard and Margaret Atwood, Eric Barnes gives us a dying neighborhood of outcasts who save the world that has cast them out. Just the book we need in these dystopian times."—John Feffer, author of Splinterlands
“With deft prose and a discerning voice, The City Where We Once Lived is a taut examination of the archetypes and rituals that form the landscape of community.”—Courtney Miller Santo, author of Three Story House and The Roots of the Olive Tree
"This novel stuck with me. The voice is appealingly quiet, the atmosphere dreamlike, but the premise of poisoned ground, weather gone haywire, and a government that has thrown up its hands, is frighteningly real. The most remarkable thing is that even after hope is gone, kindness survives."—James Whorton, author of Approximately Heaven and Angela Sloan