FORMS OF DEFIANCE by Cynthia C. Sample
An ancient proverb claims that “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes.” Such is reflected in the various ways people tell themselves their own stories and the meaning within their experiences, but actual revelation of characters’ tales defy the traditional methods of the telling. Forms of Defiance presents a broad variety of people caught in the complexities of their humanity, revealing their narratives, even to themselves according to their peculiarities – Bible concordance entries, playlists, poems, diaries and others – while dissecting the human complexities they are experiencing, and making choices about them.
Publication Date: January 25, 2022
Praise for FORMS OF DEFIANCE
In one of the stories in this stunning debut collection, Cynthia Croan Sample invokes the astronomical concept of parallax when describing a documentary her protagonist watches at an observatory: “The camera pulls back over and over again,” she writes, “each time showing what the universe looks like from that imagined vantage point.” Forms of Defiance gives us fifty-three parallactic views on another kind of universe, the universe of fears, desires, hopes, and secrets inside us all. Her book is brilliantly original, fiercely honest, and laced with a wise and heartbreaking wit. In short, it’s the real thing: a book that truly matters. I urge you to read it and share it with those you love.
--David Jauss, Author of Glossolalia: New & Selected Stories and Nice People: New & Selected Stories II
Cynthia Sample’s quirky and outrageously insightful stories sing with a voice so particular and peculiar that the reader can’t help but be seduced. I was. One after another, story after story, Sample entertains us, all the while sneakily investigating and laying bare all the secrets of humanity. I’ve never read anything like these – and I only want more.
--Robin Oliveira, Author of My Name is Mary Sutter, I Always Loved You, and Winter Sisters
Some writers work with hammers, some with shovels, still others with pitchforks or chainsaws. Cynthia Sample's tool of choice is the scalpel, an instrument she wields to thrilling, deliciously wicked effect in Forms of Defiance. Each story in this stellar collection aims true and cuts deep, laying open the essential inner workings of our all too human selves. Unnerving at times, and delightful all of the time, Forms of Defiance is a work of masterful literary dissection.
--Ben Fountain, Author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Forms of Defiance is a restless, eccentric, witty book of stories that defy definition. Some stories are shorter than their titles. One is a list of Bible verses. One is a prayer diary. One is an essay about coffins. One consists of a recorded tornado warning alert. Cynthia Sample defies form by borrowing forms. The results are astonishing—astringently ironic, yet intimate. She is a mistress of the killer one-liner. And at the heart of every character is a special kind of bravado in the face of what life throws at us.
--Douglas Glover, Author, Elle and Savage Love