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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Stealing the Fire, by Jane Ciabattari

rEprint Series Ebooks

Stealing the Fire, by Jane Ciabattari

Ciabattari-Stealing the Fire - Cover.jpg
Ciabattari-Stealing the Fire - Cover.jpg

Stealing the Fire, by Jane Ciabattari

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This collection of stories by award-winning writer Jane Ciabattari introduces a strong, original voice with a wide-ranging understanding of human nature. In fierce lyrical language, she explores the aftershocks of life changes—the loss of a father, a husband, an unborn child, an all-consuming job—and the illuminations that make hope possible. In the title story, a young writer whose father was dubbed “the psychedelic Rimbaud,” struggles to absorb his death and to find her own voice while resisting the pull of addiction in her own blood. In “A Pilgrimage,” a fifty-year-old widow undertakes a mission of mercy to El Salvador, with tragic repercussions. “Gridlock” is a comic tale of New York City in which a feisty Irish-American actress and her Cuban-born actor husband hit a dreaded cool spot in their marriage—and a rent-controlled apartment becomes the fulcrum for renewed passion.

“Once in a Blue Moon” follows Liza, a management consultant on vacation, as she happens upon an old love performing at a Montreal blues festival and faces all she left behind when she turned her back on her rebellious youth. In “Payback Time,” Joshua learns tough lessons at work. “Memorial Day” shows a couple with a troubled son the savage side of nature. In the award-winning “Wintering at Montauk,” Stanley turns thirty and follows a perverse impulse to withdraw into his parents’ summer home in the offseason to ride out a string of failures. Set in the San Francisco Bay Area, El Salvador, New York City, Montreal, and Montauk, the haunting stories in Stealing the Fire throb with the joys and pains of real life.


“Ciabattari is a master of transformation as she gives these stories of loss, woe, crisis and collapse the salutary and sometimes bracing qualities of plain good fiction.”—Kirkus Reviews


Jane Ciabattari is the author of the critically acclaimed short story collections Stealing the Fire and California Tales. Her short stories have been published in Nothing Short of 100: Selected Tales from 100WordStory, edited by Grant Faulkner, Lynn Mundell and Beret Olson; A Book on the Table, a flash anthology commissioned for April 2018 Independent Bookstore Day; New Flash Fiction Review, Long Island Noir, edited by Kaylie Jones (Akashic Books), The Literarian, the online publication of the Center for Fiction (edited by Dawn Raffel), Literary Mama, Ms. Magazine (nominated for O.Henry and Pushcart awards), The North American Review, Denver Quarterly, Hampton Shorts (which honored her with an Editors' Choice Award), The East Hampton Star, and Redbook, which nominated her for a National Magazine Award. Her story "Payback Time" was a Pushcart Prize "special mention." Her story "How I Left Onandaga County," appears in the anthology "The Best Underground Fiction" (Stolen Time Press) and also was a Pushcart Prize special mention, as was her story "MamaGodot," which appeared online in Verbsap and in Chautauqua magazine.

Ciabattari was born and raised in Emporia, Kansas. She began her writing career as a high school columnist for The Emporia Gazette. She studied creative writing at Stanford University (BA) and San Francisco State University (MA). With her husband Mark, who also is a writer, she divides her time between Brooklyn, New York, and Sonoma County, California.