About 'Already Gone'

Already Gone: 40 Stories of Running Away

Did you ever wish, with every cell in your body, that you could run away? From home, from a person, from your job, from yourself? Physically or emotionally, on foot or purely in your own mind? In Already Gone, forty of today’s most exciting writers take flight in all these ways and more.

In an electrifying hybrid collection of fiction and memoir, authors such as Deesha Philyaw, Amber Sparks, and Lilly Dancyger finish what Thelma & Louise started. From a reimagined tale of Lot’s wife fleeing a burning city to a secret elopement to avoid an arranged marriage, from a mother who wins the lottery and abandons her family to a rich man’s obsessive search through space and time, from a drag queen who transforms into her fantasy to a teenager who walks the city streets at night in search of a way out, Already Gone is a collection of runaway stories that explores what it means to fly, to flee, to escape—to search for who we are. These stories and essays take us to dangerous places in order to free us from what holds us back.

Edited by HANNAH GRIECO  |  Out now from Alan Squire Publishing

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“The artistry on display within Already Gone is next level—these are not just stories, they’re offramps and exit routes for readers and writers looking to break free from the ho-hum mundanity of daily living. Here is an oasis. Grieco has curated a vibrant, pulsing mosaic of human experience.” ~ Chris Gonzalez, author of I’m Not Hungry but I Could Eat


 “Escapist lit at its best, the Already Gone anthology features forty stories infused with humanity and heart. Without pretense, the collection presents new definitions of what it means to be present, gone, and left behind. Grieco’s skillful and empathetic editing is evident in each of the selected works. Readers will find well-known names interspersed with new writers, stories of love and relationships, pain and loss, movement and stasis, community and individuality, with touches of humor. Through the integration of a range of stories, readers can feel and identify with the overarching theme. But there’s more here – a rawness, an emotionality that makes each story memorable on its own and together; a guidebook to running away from, and towards, life.” ~ Amy Cipolla Barnes, author of Mother Figures, Ambrotypes, and Child Craft


“There’s something deeply human about the urge to run away. We all, at one point or another, have longed for escape—be it from the mundane, the stress, or the fear that exists in our daily lives. Those feelings are captured succinctly, and sometimes beautifully, in the new release of short stories from Alan Squire Publishing.” ~ Sarah Marloff, arts editor at Washington City Paper


“As a reader, I was thrilled with this hybrid collection of fiction and memoir. As Grieco notes in her introduction, “Maybe we all want to run away…and if we can’t release the burden in real life, perhaps the page is where we turn.” Rarely is there a story collection that speaks to both the writer and the child in me as Already Gone did.

Deesha Philyaw’s story, “Mother’s Day,” about a mother leaving as her kids sleep, just about broke my heart. The wondrous flash story “That Kind of Love,” by Melissa Llanes Brownlee, imagines a girl at the sea’s edge, ready to run from her tumultuous family life, the sea and its gods calling to her in images that glint and roil.

In Zach Powers’ “Surface Treatments,” I was hoping the children would run from their alcoholic parents. In language that’s as horrifying as it is plaintive in its exacting detail, the act of painting a home becomes the very act that destroys it. And in Jen Soong’s evocative “Feeding Time,” the narrator packs her mother’s suitcase with food but warns against hungry ghosts. It’s a haunting story of never entirely leaving the past behind.

There are many ways we run away from those we love, care for, or need to escape, and these stories explore them all.

I always grapple with how to end my own stories and even how to order them in a collection. Grieco chose a poetic meditation on boys leaving and returning to conclude Already Gone, “Hummingbirds in the Forest of Needle and Blood,” by Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán. One must read the entire dreamy fable, with each sentence skillfully starting with the command “Say.” The story ends on this call: “Say this is our story. Ours.”


Already Gone’s stories are our stories, and its culmination gives warning and hope to all those who wish to run away — or to write.”  ~ Caroline Bock, Washington Independent Review of Books