A daring debut collection, Dust dives headfirst into the complicated waters of youth. Exploring themes of alienation, longing, self-destruction and ultimately self-awareness, the characters in Dust attempt to find meaning and form connections via sex, art, drugs, bathtubs, apple seeds, a cardboard dreamachine, and an aloe vera plant.
In “Ten Days,” a pothead bike messenger squats in the hip downtown apartment of a girl he doesn’t know, which begins a strange affair with her diary. During “The Test,” a backpacker couple visits The Church of Scientology as a rainy day experiment, which ends up testing more than they’d anticipated.
“Skills” is set in a group therapy session, while “May Day” takes place in a Staten Island backyard, where eccentric outcasts perform an ancient Druid ceremony. The Batman-loving tween of “Anything to Save Her” attempts to rescue his sister from a ‘dangerous’ boyfriend, while the shy child of “In Limbo” is kidnapped by an artistic loner who paints her green.
Littered with songs, secrets, subculture, and a dash of the surreal, the fourteen stories in Dust shed light on the harsh realities of growing up and making decisions in our modern world.
"Amy Dupcak's prose is precise and taut, yes, but it teeters at the edge of some precipice, some crucial border between control and disaster. The characters in Dust are complicated: passionate, scornful, smart, fickle, loving, manipulative, impulsive, and wry. Sometimes they enact the worst kinds of betrayals; at other times they approach redemption. Reading these stories is like looking in the mirror." — Nelly Reifler, Elect H. Mouse State Judge and See Through Stories
“Dust reads like a perfect scar of time-softened pain. You’ll find old friends between these pages, cool ones who watch obscure movies and listen to vinyl and remind you of days when you felt too much. From an abducted fourth grader to a maniacal, unignorable voice inside your head, Dupcak’s characters leave you in thrall with the possibility of darkness.” —Jordana Frankel, The Ward and The Isle
“Amy Dupcak has a relentless commitment to illuminating life’s quirky, raw underside. In her searing debut story collection, Dupcak unflinchingly gets under the skin of a tribe of fascinating young characters that offer insights beyond their years. Anchored with lush tangles of prose, Dupcak’s stories not only touch but often scorch the heart.” —Scott Alexander Hess, The Butcher’s Sons and Skyscraper
“The characters in Amy Dupcak’s beautiful, smart collection Dust often find themselves both connected to and estranged from one another and themselves. A dynamic personal tension fuels each of these finely-taut stories, which are, like many of the characters in them, sometimes sweet on the surface, yet fraught with an underlying emotional weight….These are characters striving to understand themselves and their world through language, but who are often unable to find the perfect words. Lucky for us, Dupcak does.” —David Olimpio, This Is Not a Confession