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Torrey House Press, Feb 2023

The residents of Clayton, Colorado, must learn to live with what has burned and what threatens to ignite. In Defensible Spaces, a bus driver confronts a rush of memories when an old flame climbs aboard; a trailer park resident attempts to save her home; a reclusive fire mitigation worker fuels public outrage. Throughout ten linked short stories, townspeople work through relationships with alcoholism, history, and each other, negotiating where and when to create their own defensible spaces that might, but will not always, keep them protected.


"I wait for Alison Turner's fiction the way one waits for sunlight after a long period of darkness. Defensible Spaces is a wonder. A beautiful, soul-touching ticking clock of a collection that explores—with grace and precision—all the layers and years of a former mining community in Colorado. This is a book to savor, one that carries our world, and one you'll be reaching for again and again."
—PAUL YOON, author of Run Me To Earth

"Alison Turner's stories are embers. They spark and glow. They smolder for years, sparing some lives while devastating others when they burst back into flame."
—ERICA OLSEN, author of Recapture and Other Stories

"In this masterfully woven collection, Alison Turner exposes the human kindling in a community racing to stay one step ahead of fire. The residents of Clayton, Colorado, are diverse, compelling, broken, and haunted, and Turner brings to their lives an incisive awareness of an environment's ephemerality. Combining a tender evocation of place and a compassion for human frailty, Defensible Spaces points to the future of fiction."
—KATY SIMPSON SMITH, author of The Everlasting

Defensible Spaces cover.webp
Cover image by Katie Crow

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