Fires is a collection of short stories interspersed with non-fiction about Dunlap's difficult recovery. The cover
photograph, which everyone loves, was taken by Brett Simison. Fires will be published by The Ardent Writer Press on June 7th, 2015. *This is the seven year anniversary of a car wreck that forced Dunlap to start his life over from scratch.
“In Fires, Murray Dunlap slaloms between nonfiction
accounts of the accident that changed his life and works of pure invention,
short stories and flash fiction pieces, many of which were written before the
accident. Not only does this blending of fact and fiction make for good
reading, plain and simple, but it also presents us with a privileged glimpse of
a man in flux, before and after, how he has changed, how he has remained the
same, how he's still finding his way. Ultimately this book will make readers bottomlessly
glad that he survived his metaphorical fire-- wounded, yes, but wiser and still
“When you read Dunlap’s stories, you can feel the landscape
springing up around you —the cypress roots and pine needles, the weight
of the air and the pull of the water. The landscape is deeply tied to
the idea of home, and there’s a weight to that, too, whether characters
are being driven away from it or dragged back to it. Or both. Dunlap
himself is more than one of these dragged and driven characters. He is
the Murray Dunlap before his life-changing car wreck, and he is the
Murray Dunlap after it. Writing about his continued recovery, he sifts
and sorts through possible choices, possible selves, always seeking.
These stories make the reader glad that he keeps on searching." Gin Phillips, author of The Well and the Mine
can choose to look at Murray as the poor writer who suffered a
traumatic brain injury. We can choose to look at him as someone who lost
the kind of life it could kill a person to lose. Or we can choose to look at him as a writer who went through some shit and now has another story to tell."
I’m not this strong. I’m just not.
If God hadn’t loaned me a suit of armor, I would
have been crushed.
I am alive because of borrowed steel.
* * *
Murray Dunlap's work has appeared in countless magazines and journals. His stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times, as well as to Best New American Voices. The story 'Race Day' was a finalist for the American Fiction Short Story award, 2014. The extraordinary individuals Pam Houston, Michael Knight, and Fred Ashe taught him the art of writing.