Ember Days, a collection of seven stories and a novella, is available from Braddock Avenue Books.

Best of 2015 books, Necessary Fiction

“Ember Days delivers strong, well-crafted stories that tap into that underlying primal struggle to survive that connects people like Blake and Oritz, and ultimately connects reader and writer in an ongoing harmony.” The Collagist.

Nick Ripatrazone writes the kind of stories that sneak up on you as they build quietly and relentlessly to their explosive ends. Moving with dark, deliberate energy, Ripatrazone's work digs beneath ordinary lives simmering with the unforgivable hurt of broken dreams and missed opportunities and with the dangerous pull of desire and obsession. In deeply human stories about brothers, friends, and lovers, Ripatrazone tracks the silent, intense movement of subterranean lives on the verge of insight, revenge, and redemption.

Advance Praise:

In Ember Days, Ripatrazone has crafted a searing realm in which language enacts spirit and the heart crawls from its cave panting and filthy and expectant. Convulsing between the holy and the damned, the men and women of his world make a lovely mess of one another. You have need of these expert stories--their truth and their beauty, yes, but also their devastation. --William Giraldi, author of Hold the Dark

Nick Ripatrazone is a master of the liminal. His stories live on the borders where maturity is adolescence, the country is right outside of the city, and the mundane looms as a menace. In Ember Days, Ripatrazone takes us to that uncanny place where salvation is as close as hell. --John Dermot Woods, author of The Complete Collection of People, Places & Things

When Yeats wrote that "the centre cannot hold," he might as well have been thinking of the landscapes and people upon whom Nicholas Ripatrazone has turned his sharp eyes and sympathetic imagination. To the eight stories of Ember Days this author brings an unflinching intelligence and sure-handed style to render the desperate and the near-desperate in fresh but recognizable fashion. Frustrated and exhausted, his protagonists suffer trials of endurance and loss in the blue-collar homes of the mid-east, near the Mexican border and finally in the bomb-blasted desert of New Mexico, where one man's haunting ordeal unfolds unforgettably. These are stories to savor and ache with, stories that seize the heart. --R. T. Smith, editor of Shenandoah