Not Anywhere, Just Not
Boy meets Girl, Boy marries Girl, and years later Boy mysteriously disappears in this Gordon Lish–style novel.
The boy and the girl have been married for decades, mostly getting along as they go about their lives. But one day, like thousands of people around the world, the boy vanishes, and the girl is left to wait, wonder, and worry. Will he return? Who might she be if she moves on without him?
This is a world where every morning the cat gets fed and the coffee gets made, but also one in which God sometimes lives in the garage – she likes to sleep on the freezer – and gigantic words can fall from the sky. Not Anywhere, Just Not cracks open the small dramas of our lives to show the dread and wonder inside all of us.
"Ken Sparling is a brilliant writer and this book, like all his books, is a beauty. Sparling chronicles the times I fear most—the moments of loneliness, of loss, of ennui—and somehow makes them seem worthwhile, even wondrous, and often flat-out funny. His work makes life look livable, which makes him a wizard to me." – Derek McCormack, author of Castle Faggot
"A gorgeous rendition of the domestic uncanny, Not Anywhere, Just Not is an ostensibly quiet book that slowly and carefully unnerves and unsettles you--both because of its precise swapping out of reality and because of just how familiar it so often seems. All of us, Sparling seems to say, are on the verge of vanishing at any moment." – Brian Evenson, author of Song for the Unravelling of the World
"In Ken Sparling’s sixth novel, people sometimes just disappear. And when they reappear, they can’t quite say where they’ve been. When this happens to one half of a middle-aged couple, the partner who remains frets about his eventual return. Bordering magic realism and absurdity, Not Anywhere, Just Not is sure to be a metaphysical delight." – Andrew Woodrow-Butcher, Quill & Quire '2023 Spring Fiction Preview'
"Not Anywhere, Just Not is a rhythmic, brooding novel in which a woman whose life was intertwined with her husband’s searches for an identity after his loss." – Kristen Rabe, Foreword Reviews' Book of the Day
"It is a pleasure to read something that has ideas, that poses questions and that desires participation from the reader." – Kris Rothstein, Subterrain