The nine stories in My Pulse Is an Earthquake take place in the clutches of grief. Characters struggle to make sense of sudden losses of life, love, and community. From 1970 to the present day, children and young adults from the Rockies to the Appalachian Mountains guide readers through the valleys of their lives as dog breeders, foreigners, Catholic school delinquents, rookie policewomen, drummers, ballerinas, teenage brides, and an accountant who keeps a careful inventory of losses.
In each story, we see the darkness that can surface during the happy moments in life—weddings, births, promotions, the opening night of a director’s favorite play, or the best performance of a dancer’s career, when no one important is there to watch. We enter daydreams and night terrors where the dead are within reach, pointing out how they could have been saved. We wear their clothes and carry their teddy bears or vinyl records everywhere. We crawl around in caves and pound hammers into walls until our own hearts stop beating.
This collection explores how the unexpected harm to young, vibrant loved ones—from murder, kidnapping, battle, accident, natural disaster, swift illness, or stillbirth—can rupture families, and how the most unlikely healers can bring together those who remain.