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Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore's longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has haunted the town ever since. In the days it takes the authorities to make an identification, the residents rekindle stories, rumors, and recollections both painful and poignant as they revisit Jess's troubled history. In resurrecting the past, the people of Sycamore will find clarity, unexpected possibility, and a way forward for their lives.
Skillfully interweaving multiple points of view, Bryn Chancellor maps the bloodlines of a community and the indelible characters at its heart-most notably Jess Winters, a thoughtful, promising adolescent poised on the threshold of adulthood. Sycamore is a coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a moving exploration of the elemental forces that drive human nature, as witnessed through the inhabitants of one small Arizona town.
Bryn Chancellor's story collection When Are You Coming Home? (University of Nebraska Press) won a Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and her short fiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Phoebe, and elsewhere. Other honors include the Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award in fiction, and literary fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the North Carolina Arts Council. She teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.