Clifford Garstang is the author of the prize-winning short story collection In an Uncharted Country and What the Zhang Boys Know, winner of the Library of Virginia Award for Fiction. His is also founding editor of Everywhere Stories: SHort Fiction from a Small Planet, an anthology series from Press 53. His work has appeared in numerous literary magazines including Bellevue Literary JournalBlackbird, Cream City Review, Shenandoah, Tampa Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review, and has received Distinguished Mention in the Best American Series. He has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. He holds an MFA in Fiction from Queens University of Charlotte and is the co-founder of Prime Number Magazine. He is also the author of the popular literary blog Perpetual Folly.
"A widower, a sculptor, a minor poet, an interior designer, and a painter are just a few of Clifford Garstang's affecting characters, residents of Nanking Mansion, the setting for these deeply satisfying, life-affirming stories linked by neighborliness in a 'not-quite-gentrified' neighborhood. Garstang's characters strive to transcend 'the deep quite of absence' in the wake of all manners of devastations. They leave their doors unlocked, they console, they make room, they share what they have made of sorrow, so proving, as do these stories, the solace to be found in art."
— Christine Schutt, author of National Book Award-finalist Florida, and Pulitzer Prize-finalist All Souls.

What the Zhang Boys Know has a dozen chapters, each one a vivid short story in itself. Garstang makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. The lives of the inhabitants of a condominium in Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown are told separately and as part of a web of entanglements. The entrances and exits are handled with the deftness of a French comedy, but the empathy of the author brings all the characters achingly alive. What the Zhang Boys Know is a wonderful and haunting book.
— John Casey, author of Compass Rose and Spartina, winner of the National Book Award.

“Clifford Garstang presents one of the more memorably settings I've seen in any book, Nanking Mansion, a renovated tenement in D.C.'s Chinatown, filled with characters whose stories are more fantastic than they first appear. In prose that is measured and confident, he carefully works to show us how these characters' grief and loneliness becomes unified by their collective setting to transform into something utterly beautiful and unforgettable. What a world Garstang has built for us, and how grateful I was to discover it."
— Kevin Wilson, author of Tunneling to the Center of the Earth and NYT Best Seller The Family Fang 

“In the tradition of the best volumes of linked stories, from Susan Minot's Monkeys and Rand Cooper's The Last to Go to David Schickler's Kissing in Manhattan, Clifford Garstang's What the Zhang Boys Know traces a graceful arc, as the meanings and moments in the stories accrue. Garstang's inventive and original writing, a beguiling invitation to myriad subplots and destinations, offers what every reader desires: a lucid and satisfying experience of literature."
— Katharine Weber, author of Triangle, True Confections, The Memory of All That

"Garstang's finely painted portrait of displaced people who find support in each other is its own "buttery trumpet" in a cacophonous landscape.".
— Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kansas

A tight, lyrical novel told in 12 stories of disparate neighbors living in uneasy harmony in a gentrified Washington, D.C. condo.
— Shelf Awareness
View more work by cover artist Robert Miller at
Bob Miller entered the international scene of photography in 2005. His pictures have been viewed by over a million people worldwide on his Flickr Website. He specializes in nature and landscape. His unique style has earned him the respect of noted photographers across the globe.
He has been most noted for his landscape and wildlife photography on the Blue Ridge Parkway. His photographs have appeared in many publications worldwide, and other forms of media including movies, calendars, and projected images in classical concerts in Italy.
Some of his publications include National Geographic, JPG Magazine, Image Driven Magazine, In the Moment (an Australian Arts Publication) and local Central Virginia. He has won both national and local awards for his photography. Most recently he won second place in the National Parks Foundation “Share the Experience” photo contest (2008). In 2007 and 2008, he placed first in the John Faber Smith Mountain Arts Council photo contest.
His photography has been displayed in galleries around the world from France to Switzerland. In Switzerland his photographs were featured in the Musee de l’Elysee the largest photography museum in the world. His photographs have been collected and appreciated by best selling authors, artists, and some of the most famous photographers around the world.
He has published three photography books: The Blue Ridge and Beyond, Visual Destination: The Blue Ridge Parkway, and Dirt Track Racing.
A Note from Bob
All my life I have been involved in photography, I have had a camera in my hands from the age of five. I found the camera uniquely fascinating in its ability to capture the moment. In later life, I have been inspired both from famous photographers, whom I count as my friends, to artists who excel in their technique. In photography I am constantly trying to blend both art and photography in one medium.

My goal is to share the beauty of the earth that means so much to me, and I hope to you.
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314
Cover artist BenWill
Cover artist BenWill (Benjamin Williamson) is a modern abstract expressionist painter living in Portland, Oregon. In reflecting on the philosophy behind his work, he explains, "I don't want my art to be about standing still, resting on any successes, and becoming complacent. So, it's important to me to always focus on expanding my work and extending myself on the canvas." BenWill's paintings are currently found in collections throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Information about BenWill and his work can be found at:

In an Uncharted Country
by Clifford Garstang

8.5 x 5.5 paperback
ISBN 978-0-9824416-7-1
186 pages

Clifford Garstang
Cover photo by Robert Miller
In an Uncharted Country showcases award-winning stories about ordinary men and women in and around Rugglesville, Virginia, as they struggle to find places and identities in their families and the community. They experience natural disasters, a sun-worshipping cult, Vietnam flashbacks, kidnapping, addiction, and loss. The book’s opening story, “Flood, 1978,” follows Hank, who comes to understand his father’s deep sense of grief over the death of his wife. Later, in “Hand-painted Angel,” Hank’s sons see the family spinning apart as their father ages and family secrets are disclosed. In “The Clattering of Bones,” Walt mourns the collapse of his marriage after the loss of a child, but in the collection’s title story he recognizes his emotional need for family. The concluding story, “Red Peony,” unifies the collection, as many of the characters from other stories come together for a tumultuous 4th of July Celebration.
Winner of the Maria Thomas Fiction Award.
2010 Independent Publishers Book Awards Gold Medal: Best Fiction—Mid-Atlantic Region
What the Zhang Boys Know
A Novel in Stories
by Clifford Garstang

8.5 x 5.5 paperback
ISBN 978-1-93578-16-2
218 pages

Cover art by BenWill
Cover artist Robert Miller
Praise for What the Zhang Boys Know
Winner 2013 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction
Winner 2015 Indiana Emerging Author Award
What the Zhang Boys Know, a novel in stories
Set in a condominium building on the edge of Chinatown in Washington, D.C., these stories present the struggle of Zhang Feng-qi, originally from Shanghai, to find a new mother for his sons following the death of his American wife. Along the way, the stories spotlight Zhang’s neighbors as they seek to fill gaps in their own lives. And then there are the Zhang boys, who firmly believe that their mother is coming back. What is it that they know?
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Also check out Clifford's Press 53 anthology series, Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet.