Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life? Pay a visit to Ekeland County, nestled in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Attend a baseball game, grab a burger at Wimple’s Diner, or take a hike to the swimmer’s paradise at Blue Lake. If you are searching for cultural hotspots, tour the historic county seat of Almsville, the monastery in neighboring Bordeaux, or the campus of Upper Valley University.

Stay as long as you like, but do not be too nosey. Be warned:  the bus service is spotty, too many people have keys to your locks, and if you want mail, you have to send it to yourself. Don’t drive or swim at night, don’t ask why there are immigrants in the trunk, and never question why sick people go to church instead of the hospital. The stories in this collection show why the idyllic isn’t always ideal. A brawl in the middle of a baseball game gives you the first insight into a community where lions are killed in their cages, snakes outnumber ducks in the local duck ponds, and you never read about crime, even when it happens.

Ekeland County is a place and a novel. In this collection of 30 stories the reader is taken through the streets and farms of a small Virginia town. From a police raid to the death of a star athlete and to a man’s bizarre obsession with building a coffin, the town of Almsville, Ekeland’s county seat, lays itself bare.