What You Can’t Give Me

These twelve stories explore the infinitely varied ways in which a shared crisis brings us face to face with ourselves, forcing us to both engage with the stranger we inevitably encounter and rely on our own kindness and mercy.

Ann Beattie writes “Read one and you’ll want to read the rest … They’re stories for this moment: intimate, surprising, sometimes even humbling. I found them wonderfully, distractingly different from other contemporary stories—no surprise from R.C. Binstock, whose writerly risk taking I’ve long admired.”


The Vanished

Two late 20th-century families, one in America and the other in Britain, struggle to recover from the sudden and shattering loss of three common members in an airplane explosion. In his own time, a nineteenth-century French artist refuses to return to his childhood home in Normandy until his grandmother, then his mother, and finally his last remaining sister have passed from the world. (October 2018)

Ethan on Amazon says The Vanished “is an aching exposition of the pain that comes from tragic loss … The writing is brilliant …”

Swift River

Swift River is the tale of Polly McPhee, a native of Greenwich, Massachusetts, one of four small towns condemned in 1927 to create a permanent water supply for the people of Boston. As Polly matures, discovering new joys and suffering profound personal losses, the project assumes a complex, central role in her life and her universe, ultimately becoming a dangerous but powerful ally in her path to survival and redemption. (November 2014)

Gregory Maguire says Swift River “swims with power and feeling.”

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Native Child

When Oscar, a child of the New York streets, and Lillian, a newlywed Nebraska farm girl, are brought together by circumstance in the fall of 1922, they form a bond that neither could have imagined and neither will ever regret …

Native Child is the extraordinary story of an unlikely family: one of the very last of 200,000 “orphan train” riders, sent west from New York by the Children’s Aid Society at his own request, and the young couple from the small town of Spring Valley, Nebraska who impulsively take him in. (May 2016)

Basso Profundo describes Native Child as “An unforgettable and unique family saga…. touching, impressive, vivid, and full of soul.”

Tree of Heaven

The year is 1938. The Japanese army has occupied Nanking. Kuroda, a botany professor and reluctant officer, rescues a starving Chinese refugee about to be raped by his soldiers; Li has no choice but to accept his protection. An extraordinary intimacy ensues, launching a profound exploration of the overlapping boundaries of power, rape and love. (Soho 1995; author’s edition March, 2015)

Publisher’s Weekly calls Tree of Heaven a “beautifully written novel … a meticulous exploration of love, obsession and loss.”

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The Soldier

Committed to solitude in his ancient New Hampshire house until he finishes the book that may redeem him, Philip nonetheless accepts a visit by his cousin Jennie. Friends, family and ghosts witness their unfolding intimacy. (Soho 1996)

Booklist says The Soldier “reminds us of the fragility of reason and the fleetingness of peace.”

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The Light of Home

The Light of Home contains 17 intimate, intricately structured stories about real people living real lives and the joys, dreams, longings and losses that define them. (Atheneum, 1992)

Ann Beattie writes “R. C. Binstock’s work is serious, sincere, and often radiant … among the best stories I’ve read in years.”

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