Ryann recently finished a novel in short stories, Living Donors

A Novel in Stories by Ryann Ferguson

Zadie and her parents are struggling to piece it together. Even as a little girl, Zadie is building a vocabulary to make sense of the world. Her father Joel is trying to remember the last time he genuinely enjoyed a meal. And her mother Debbi wishes she could reach back, to a time before she gazed into a mirrored garden ball and it shattered.

Living Donors traces interlocking stories through three generations as they try, fail, and cross over their own boundaries in parenthood, joy, and satisfaction. Weaving through a nomadic childhood across the American West, the thing that stays constant for Zadie is her bright inner world. Despite neglect from her magnetic, but damaged mother and jealousy from her frosty, new-age stepmother, Zadie navigates the channels towards adulthood in a style all her own. She learns when to break allegiances and seek surrogate nurturing from any source available. With help from her father and friends, ancient stories from relatives, and her own clever imagination, Zadie takes the disparate pieces and stitches together a sense of home in the world among families who adopt her as their own. But the cost is high. Loyalty to her own vision for her life will put her in direct conflict with her family’s past. The limits of Zadie’s desire to be loved are put to a life-or-death test when Debbi’s years of alcohol abuse land her in the hospital with stage IV liver cirrhosis. Zadie is a match but refuses the donation.  In that moment, Zadie secures a tenuous freedom in the universal struggle to define ourselves in contrast to our parents; the waning generation.

Stories of loyalty and violence, Living Donors weighs the hope of youth against the souring of that hope into shame, resignation, or worse-- surrender. And the pound of flesh we owe to be a member of any family.

Why Stop Now?

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