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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager

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The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager

Drager Cover.jpg
Drager Cover.jpg

The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager


Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Paperback: 160 pages
ISBN: 978-1-945814-82-2
Product Not Yet Released
Orders ship in April

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Tracking the evolution of Hansel and Gretel at seventy-five-year intervals that correspond with earth’s visits by Halley’s Comet, The Archive of Alternate Endings explores how stories are disseminated and shared, edited and censored, voiced and left untold.

In 1456, Johannes Gutenberg’s sister uses the tale as a surrogate for sharing a family secret only her brother believes. In 1835, The Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm revise the tale to bury a truth about Jacob even he can’t come to face. In 1986, a folklore scholar and her brother come to find the record is wrong about the figurative witch in the woods, while in 2211, twin space probes aiming to find earth's sister planet disseminate the narrative in binary code. Breadcrumbing back in time from 2365 to 1378, siblings reimagine, reinvent, and recycle the narrative of Hansel and Gretel to articulate personal, regional, and ultimately cosmic experiences of tragedy.

Through a relay of speculative pieces that oscillate between eco-fiction and psychological horror, The Archive of Alternate Endings explores sibling love in the face of trauma over the course of a millennium, in the vein of Richard McGuire's Here and Lars von Trier's Melancholia.


"A philosophical book…beautiful in its conception."
Kirkus Reviews

“This beautiful, haunting and innovative novel traces the way stories live inside us and travel over generations. It's a book that asks essential questions: What makes us human? What might our species leave behind when it's gone? Lindsey Drager's THE ARCHIVE OF ALTERNATE ENDINGS is a stunning tour-de-force that will linger with me for a long time..”
—Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

“I could make comparisons—to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas or Penelope Lively's Moon Tiger—but I’ve never read anything quite like Lindsey Drager's THE ARCHIVE OF ALTERNATE ENDINGS. Yes, it's a remarkable, heart-stunning novel, but it's also a delightfully original collection of stories that reaches across the centuries to ultimately shape a narrative of love and tragedy. Behold and beware, there's magic in your hands, and the chapters that await you are as thick with gothic shadows and fairy tale whimsy as the Black Forest of Germany.”
Benjamin Percy, author of The Dark Net, Thrill Me, Red Moon and Refresh, Refresh

“Drager’s intoxicating novel presents itself like the box in Schrödinger’s famous cat experiment. Until you open the box, the cat is both alive and dead. Drager seems to be saying that “We are part of a system, for better and for worse.” A system that includes labyrinths and dark forests as well as siblings, light, and houses made of ginger bread. ... What a pleasure it is to enter the safe harbor of Drager’s novel.” 
New York Journal of Books

The Archive of Alternate Endings will lead you into uncanny forests both primordial and new, where storytellers forage and banished children roam. Cosmically expansive and poignantly intimate, Lindsey Drager’s queer retellings tap into the magic and menace of ancient tales—a dazzling, moving, brilliant book.”
—Julia Elliott, author of The Wilds and The New and Improved Romie Futch

“Lindsey Drager’s novel-in-stories spans the history (and future) of the western world, all while showing what is, in fact, the short timeline of humanity. Storytelling. Fables. Legends. Mythologies. Drager’s world is one that spins variations of itself across time. And yet through the stories in this collection we find that what does remain constant across this cyclical continuum is love, devotion, and commitment. Concise and beautifully written in an understated yet rich manner, Lindsey Drager not only has given us a book of ideas, but, equally important, she has given us a work of art.”
—Adam Braver, author of November 22, 1963 and What the Women Do


Lindsey Drager is the author of The Sorrow Proper (Dzanc, 2015), winner of the 2016 Binghamton University / John Gardner Fiction Award, and The Lost Daughter Collective (Dzanc, 2017), winner of a 2017 Shirley Jackson Award and finalist for at Lambda Literary Award. She is an assistant professor at the College of Charleston.