What unites the unlikely protagonists in these daring and utterly unique short stories is their search for refuge. Whether the escape is real, like leaving the country, or like Lonnie in the title story who’s only telling people she lives in Italy, these characters are crushingly believable in their defenses, their damage, their humor, and their sheer will as they turn suffering into salvation. Full of disappearing children and surfacing secrets, fragile triumphs and imminent loss, these eloquent tales laced with hilarity and grief illuminate shared human truths about betrayal, rescue, the places we seek shelter, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.

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Married, Living in Italy, Misty Urban’s third short story collection, is about grief, loss, longing, and survival despite it all. Urban demonstrates once again that she is a keen observer of the human condition, a skillful wordsmith who writes with powerful clarity, and an absorbing storyteller who commands your attention. The people and their stories stayed with me long after I finished the last page.

-X.H. Collins, author of Flowing Water, Falling Flowers

“If you’re too happy, something’s missing. . . It means something doesn’t matter enough.” Words of advice from the grandmother, Oma, in “A Many-Chambered Vessel,” one of a dozen poignant stories in Misty Urban’s new collection, Married, Living in Italy. Written with Urban’s beautifully crafted sentences, these stories are about what matters in all of our lives—losses of loved ones, losses of dreams. These losses matter whether they affect us directly, people we care about, or even casual acquaintances, and Urban’s stories depict how we struggle to cope with the losses that shape the rest of our lives.

–Karen Musser Nortman, author of the Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries

Misty Urban delivers a collection of short stories that entice the senses and primes the reader for an exotic experience. Her imagination roams far afield and supplies new twists to familiar settings. Each story offers the reader the chance to explore a complex moment in a human life. An overworked waitress shows mercy. A ritual of fire proves cleansing and forgiving. The wounded in body and soul find ways to survive. Find out what happens when a carefully constructed fantasy world collides with reality. By challenging the reader with shifting landscapes, Urban uncovers the resilience of human nature and offers hope.

–Mary Davidsaver, author of Clouds Over Bishop Hill