Southeast Missouri State University Press

Southeast Missouri State University

Claire, Wading Into the Danube By Night

Jeffrey Condran

Publication: March 2, 2020
Pages: 192

Author of the award-winning Prague Summer returns with a new story collection that explores American lives both at home and abroad in the age of anxiety—a world gone sour with regret, where only the small intimacies that sometimes blossom between people offer any kind of hope or possibility for redemption. In the title story, a seemingly idyllic European vacation ends abruptly when a woman goes missing, leaving her lover to come to terms with the disappointingly minor role he’s played in her life. In “Salt of the Earth,” the story of a Manhattan restaurant is told through the lives of its employees, reminding us that turmoil can be assuaged one savory bite at a time, and that some spaces, through the time we spend there, can become sacred. In “Gepetto’s Workshop,” an American expatriate returns to the United States to help the daughter of his former lover open a business and, in the process, comes to terms with his own emotional poverty. And “In Costume” follows the life of a Jane Austen reenactor whose sudden connection with Hollywood royalty opens up the possibility of a bigger career—but at what price? Jeffrey Condran’s Claire, Wading Into the Danube By Night is an intense and sophisticated collection of stories in which characters travel the world in search of truths that aren’t always comfortable, and companionship that doesn’t always make sense.


“Jeffrey Condran is a writer of great insight and consummate skill. He has a light touch, and at first you might imagine that his characters are (as the collection’s title would have it) merely wading into their experiences. Early in each of these stories, though, there comes a moment when the shelf drops suddenly away, and the truth of a life comes rushing over you, and with it the pleasure of total immersion. For me this sensation was addictive.” —KEVIN BROCKMEIER, author of The Illuminations and A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip

“With elegant prose and astonishing insight, the stories in Claire, Wading into the Danube by Night vividly depict landscapes both literal and psychic, mining the rich domains of nostalgia and hope and resignation. Jeffrey Condran has a jeweler’s eye for the beauty and flaw in each of us, an empathetic acuity he deploys perfectly in this intercontinental collection.”—MICHAEL KARDOS, author of Bluff

“Having already been a fan of Condran’s writing I was expecting to enjoy Claire, Wading Into the Danube By Night; however, I was not prepared to be floored the way I was. These stories carry a sophistication and elegance in both subject matter and style, an intelligence that pairs perfectly with the beauty of the sentences. A palpable sense of life being not only lived but savored and deeply experienced runs through the book. I was greedy with it, skipping appointments and obligations, so that I could spend more time with its characters and their predicaments. To finish felt like arriving at the end of a brief but intense love.” —ANDREW MALAN MILWARD, author of I Was a Revolutionary

“Seductive reveries on love and art are impossible to resist in Jeffrey Condran’s elegant story collection, Claire, Wading Into the Danube By Night. Here are the well-read and well-traveled, intellects and writers, famous actors and aspirants, for all of whom love has proven problematic. Romance is a melancholy business; like a mist, it rises—even in the most alluring settings, yet in Condran’s stylish company we are enthralled.” —CHRISTINE SCHUTT, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize Finalist, author of Pure Hollywood

Trade Paper, $18.00
ISBN: 978-1732039940

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