A Plea for Constant Motion
Written by Paul Carlucci
Publication Date January 21, 2017
Quietly atmospheric and darkly foreboding, A Plea for Constant Motion is an ominous, and occasionally unnerving, new work of fiction by award-winning author Paul Carlucci.
Penetrating and visceral, yet always offset by small moments of tenderness and humour, A Plea for Constant Motion is a powerful examination of the innate desire in everyone to change their lives and strive for something better.
Two couples share a disastrous dinner after their children are killed in a botched kidnapping overseas. A teacher with a passion for cartography orchestrates a bizarre apology after intentionally hitting a student. Desperate to be friends, a man ignores his neighbour’s strange behaviour to the peril of himself and others. A young girl babysits for a family friend, dimly aware that her presence is required for more than just childcare.
Dexterously divided into two parts and a surreal intermission, the characters in these stories find themselves confronted by situations that leave them either struggling to escape or firmly rooted in place. Paul Carlucci’s formidable work is by turns familiar and disquieting, sober and surreal, a stark and carefully crafted examination of the human condition.
PAUL CARLUCCI is the author of The Secret Life of Fission, which won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His stories have been widely published, appearing in The Puritan, Little Fiction, The Malahat Review, Descant, Carousel, EVENT, Riddle Fence, among others. A recovering transient, he now lives in Ottawa after almost ten years of roaming across Canada and abroad.
"Paul Carlucci’s A Plea for Constant Motion is a visceral, vibrant, take-no-prisoners collection. Its characters keep talking in your head even after you put the stories down, coming back when you least expect it. Bright like nightmares, yet gauzy like half-remembered dreams — a unique touch." Russell Wangersky, author of The Path of Most Resistance
"Paul Carlucci’s collection thrums with violence. The damaged, deranged, and dangerous are flayed open on the page by vivid, razor-sharp prose. These stories, steeped in darkness, disturb and captivate in equal measure." Laura Trunkey, author of Double Dutch
"Paul Carlucci has a gift for the dark and the heartbreaking. In this myriad collection of stories, we meet people who have been confronted with all manner of quiet disasters. It’s a testament to the careful brilliance of Carlucci’s prose that this disaster exists hand-in-hand with redemption; these are tales of unlikely triumph, wistfully poignant and played out with a master hand." Amanda Leduc, author of The Miracles of Ordinary Men
"Whether Paul Carlucci’s characters are dealing with class conflict, prejudice, or incomprehensible cruelty, the precision and dark, vivid humour of his stories deliver new angles on literary and societal conventions, demonstrating that the sidelines are often where the real emotional action is." Naben Ruthnum, Journey Prize-winning author and National Post columnist
"The manipulation of tone within and across stories in A Plea for Constant Motion is enhanced by an overall structure that is carefully and deliberately constructed . . . [there is] much to appreciate in this tough and challenging collection." Globe and Mail
"It doesn’t make for easy reading, but A Plea for Constant Motion has an air of urgency to it, a sense of relevance which is at once odd for a collection of short stories and disturbing in and of itself. Carlucci . . . writes beautifully of ugliness, immersing the reader in the minds and hearts of characters most of us would like to avoid, or, more critically, would prefer to believe didn’t exist. It’s a perfect collection for a world which confronts us with increasing violence and ugliness every day." Toronto Star
"Completely absorbing (in a guided-tour-through-hell kind of way), the stories sketch poor choices and malfunctioning moral compasses with a festering or atrophied backdrop of corruption, brutality, abuse and death. . . a rewarding collection." Winnipeg Review