David’s first collection of short fiction, Between Camelots, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award in Fiction, is about the struggle to forge relationships and the spaces that are left when that effort falls short. In the title story, a man at a backyard barbecue waits for a blind date who never shows up. He meets a stranger who advises him to give up the fight, to walk away from intimacy altogether and stop getting hurt. The wisdom—or foolhardiness—of that approach is at the heart of each of these stories. In “I’ll Be Home,” a young man who has converted to Judaism goes home for Christmas in Miami, and finds that his desire to connect to his parents conflicts with his need to move on. “The Movements of the Body” introduces us to a woman who believes that she can control the disintegration of her life through a carefully measured balance of whiskey and mouthwash. These are stories about loss and fear, but also about the courage that drives us all to continue to reach out to the people around us.
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Here’s the title story, first published online:
“Between Camelots.” Stickman Review.
“David Harris Ebenbach is an expert on matters of the heart….he will make you bring a hand to your chest with aching wonder….this is a great book of stories.”
–Benjamin Percy, writing for Madison’s Capital Times
“In his charming new collection, Ebenbach, 33, never suggests that life lacks value, but instead uses his tales to explore how one leads a valuable life…. Ebenbach departs from the literary mainstream with his uncommon faith in human striving….”
–Pittsburgh Post Gazette
“Ebenbach displays real affection for his characters, empathetically reserving judgment even as they wrestle with, and at times succumb to, self-destructive demons… adept, skillful stories.”
–The Jewish Week
“The title ‘Between Camelots,’ by the way, comes from one of Max’s life theories, that his life has been a series of perfect situations—like early Camelot—until someone goes and fucks it up by sleeping with the wrong person—like late Camelot. But he’s always going to find another ideal situation, he’s confident, and at Marianna’s party, he’s simply between Camelots. It’s a great credo for being single, and it’s a great title for a story and a story collection, especially a collection that’s about breaking up, living without someone, searching for the next someone. It’s such a great title and metaphor/theme that I’m jealous of Ebenbach for thinking of it, using it, before I did.”
–Michael Czyzniejewski, Story366
“Each of these fifteen compact tales is built on crisp language, precise dialogue, and perfectly chosen details. But underneath their apparent simplicity lie fully realized characters living richly imagined lives of need, longing, desire, sorrow, loss, and love. These stories manage to be both delicately wrought and emotionally powerful. They are the kind of stories that read quick-and-easy, but pack a powerful punch.”
–Jill Jepson, Writing as a Sacred Path
“Ebenbach does a fine job of exploring his characters’ longing for connection.”
“These stories of searching young Americans are intimate and sharply detailed, sometimes hopeful, often sad, with just a taste of the strange. Between Camelots is about the scars of first losses, and the need to carry on. David Harris Ebenbach is always in full command, leading the reader moment by moment through his people’s dis- and missed connections, ultimately leaving us alone with them at the quiet end of the night.”
“David Ebenbach writes with the easy grace of a longtime practitioner. His prose is delicately balanced, neither too full and labored, nor too thin and unsatisfying. The stories, right from the lovely short gem ‘Misdirections’ that opens the collection, are immensely skillful, touching, stocked with curious and engaging characters who go about their lives as if we were not watching. This is a great achievement and only one of the remarkable pleasures of Between Camelots, a stunning first collection.”
“In these stories, David Harris Ebenbach creates a world so carefully observed and nuanced that each moment seems capable of changing everything.”
“In Between Camelots, David Ebenbach fearlessly treads onto the terrain of American loneliness with clear-eyed precision and perfect pitch. Whether they’re about one-night stands or newly shattered hearts, struggling young marriages or two gay men simply trying to connect, these are stories that, above all, tell the truth. They are rendered with an honesty and a compassion that can make you sit up and gasp.”