The Quiet Time consists of eleven stories. Some of the pieces take place in foreign countries—Zaire (Congo) and Greece—and center on interactions between a host nation and an American visitor. Others, mainly set in the US, focus on human relationships. And still others involve inner struggles caused by personal inadequacies. Each story seeks to reveal a main character’s moral center in the face of unexpected events, some of which seem trivial, others vital: a lunch meeting with a friend; an exchange with a neighbor over a barking dog; a couple’s separation due to forced evacuation; a groom’s dilemma about whether to return home to his mother; an unfulfilled campaign promise; an inner conflict over giving a questionable person a ride; an eviction notice from a family member. The stories reveal characters who encounter significant moments—quiet times—that force them to make important decisions. Some characters rise to moral heights, others do not. These thematic concerns are approached from various viewpoints—American, Congolese, and Greek; first-person and third-person; female and male.
The Quiet Time will resonate loudly as these stories bristle with domestic and public scenes in which everyone wishes to holler. They’re not for the faint-hearted. Don’t be surprised if you’re taken for a ride in the company-owned truck, or turn the page against the noise of an incessantly barking dog. The reader who sits at the dinner table with these characters is served a hearty portion of anger and frustration but, surprisingly, will want to ask for seconds.
author of Partly Cloudy: Poems of love and longing, A Simple Plan, and One Kind of Faith.
The Quiet Time is one of the best new books of short fiction I’ve seen in a long time. Keriotis’s eye for detail, his strong sense of character depth, and his pithy and rhythmic use of language ensure that this book will not only resonate with the reader long after he or she puts it down, but these stories will also find a significant place on the literary shelf of American literature. Keriotis has the character yearning of Raymond Carver, the irony of Flannery O’Connor and the sense of Sherwood Anderson; but the stores are all Dimitri Keriotis!
Author of Hotel Juarez: Stories, Rooms, and Loops, and Unending Rooms.
In these worldly stories, Keriotis probes the lives of real people, digging beneath the surface to reveal his characters’ murky, surprising depths. But Keriotis does more than merely capture the desperate domestic struggles that define us—he makes us care. Delivered in a lucid, polished voice, The Quiet Time is a strong debut.
Author of The Farther Shore
Dimitri Keriotis is a talented, deeply empathetic writer who chronicles everyday lives in crisis with clean prose to offset his struggling, wayward characters. A moving collection of stories.
Author of Red Moon, The Wilding, and Refresh, Refresh