In Janice Deal's linked story collection STRANGE ATTRACTORS, everyday people navigate the uncertainties of life in the American heartland, seeking order in chaos with a very human mix of resilience and folly. At first glance, the fictional Ephrem, Illinois, seems a friendly, familiar town: it draws you right in, even if you don't need supplies at the mall or a snack at Brat Station. But as you come closer, you discover people who are complex and unpredictable. Life itself is capricious, and loneliness can turn a person strange. Past traumas linger. Illness sometimes falls like a hammer. Yet there's much affection here, small and large examples of human kindness. For years, Janice Deal has been publishing these award-winning stories about Ephrem. Now assembled for the first time, these extraordinary tales offer a masterful snapshot of life in today's small-town America.