A collection of short stories featuring characters who are stuck: in reality, in their lives, in bad decisions and the darker sides of life backlit by the unforgiving heat of the desert. The desert can be as cruel as a neglectful parent, an abusive lover, leaving these characters in a drought of love and nourishment. It is the perfect setting for the women, men, children and even the dead who traverse these stories by Justin Hunter, characters gripped in their own struggle, some finding a way to shed their identities like skins, others able to leap through time, but many of them remaining stagnant and unaltered.
194 pages, perfect bound
“A haunting depiction of young children using drug needles as darts, of someone searching for meaning in the seasons and a female killer, shedding layers of her life daily, like a snake. Hunter’s stories bring you to the heat of the action and dart away oh-so-soon.”
— Isabelle Kenyon, Managing Director of Fly on the Wall Press
“Justin Hunter is the real goddamn deal. Leaving Arizona is one of the best new collections of minimalist fiction I’ve read in years. Like its title, this book is sweltering, and brutal, and a sort of cross-your-fingers hopeful that proves why hope can be as dangerous as despair. Read this book. Follow Justin Hunter. Seriously, do it. Don’t be a fool.”
— Nick Gregorio, author of With a Difference and Good Grief
"Justin Hunter’s blistering vision of the southwest and its people—abused, desperate, in love—is both unforgiving and suffused with empathy. A compelling and harrowing debut."
— Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses
"Justin Hunter's full-length collection of twenty-six pieces of short fiction, Leaving Arizona, includes an array of characters whose lives are as undernourished as the desert that hems them in. Filled with great writing and great characters, each story will leave the reader thirsty for more. This stripped-bare prose packs a punch. Not a word is wasted."
— Christopher P. Mooney, author of Whisky for Breakfast
Justin Hunter grew up in Tucson, AZ, a place famous for tuberculosis and the University of Arizona. He spent most his life trying to escape, but now that he has, he finds himself drawn back in through his writing. He is married to a woman who not only accepts the crazy people living in his head, she actively engages them. His two young boys don't know what they're in for.
Justin received his MFA from Arcadia University. He realized he was a writer at the age of seven when he penned the classic, Jacques Cousteau and the Underwater Robot Octopus. A gold star to anyone who tracks down a copy of that gem.
When he is not writing, Justin is probably doing things that actually pay the bills. He is currently the co-founder of a software company called SimpleID.