Parnassus Books is excited to welcome Patrick Ryan in conversation with Ann Patchett discussing his new short story collection The Dream Life of Astronauts.
For readers of Tom Perrotta and Lorrie Moore, these nine unforgettable stories, all set in and around Cape Canaveral, showcase Patrick Ryan’s masterly understanding of regret and hope, relationships and family, and the universal longing for love.
The Dream Life of Astronauts balances heartbreak with wry humor as its characters try to make sense of the paths they find themselves on. A would-be Miss America auditions for a shady local talent scout over vodka and Sunny D; a NASA engineer begins to wonder if the woman he’s having an affair with is slowly poisoning her husband; a Boy Scout troop leader, recovering from a stroke, tries to protect one of his scouts from being bullied by his own sons; an ex-mobster living in witness protection feuds with the busybody head of his condo board; a grandmother, sentenced to driver’s ed after a traffic accident, surprises herself by falling for her instructor.
Set against landmark moments—the first moon launch, Watergate, the Challenger explosion—these private dramas unfurl in startling ways. The Dream Life of Astronauts ratifies the emergence of an indelible new talent in fiction.
Patrick Ryan is the author of the novel Send Me, as well as three novels for young readers. His work has been published in Granta, Tin House, Crazyhorse, and One Story, and been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. He lives in New York City.