Oil-soaked and swamp-born, the bruised optimism of Huebert’s stories offer sincere appreciation of the beauty of our wilted, wheezing world.
From city-dwelling preppers to long term care nurses, dishwashers to professional hockey enforcers to refinery workers, Chemical Valley’s caring and carefully-wrought stories cultivate rich human emotional worlds in all the dankness of our bio-chemical animacy. Full-hearted, laced throughout with bruised optimism and a sincere appreciation of the profound beauty of our wilted, wheezing world, Chemical Valley does not shy away from urgent modern questions—the distribution of toxicity, environmental racism, the future of technology, the climate, and the human body—but it grounds these anxieties in vivid and often humorous intricacies of its characters’ lives. These are stories about big questions, but they are not scared of sentiment. Swamp-wrought, they run wild with vital energy, tilt and teeter into crazed and delirious loves.
Praise for Chemical Valley
“By delving into the lives of a range of characters, feral hockey players, grieving shift-workers, and love-sick teenagers, Huebert asks an urgent question—how to survive in a world that values chemicals and capitalism over human life? Lively, affecting, tragic, careful, and shot-through with humor, the stories seeped under my skin. I won’t forget them any time soon.”—Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal
“These stories are a making and unmaking, a feeling into the world and then a kind of visceral wrenching so that all that is or was once living unwinds and flashes of story break free—binding the reader into the flesh of a burdened earth, still breathing. An ecstatic surrender of beloved flesh, and dream, and carbon beings through geological and human (altered) time. Huebert tinkers human time across industrial effigies that make and break and will one day also be broken—a dream not yet quite dreamt, but this work is part of the dreaming. This collection is, in Huebert’s own exquisite play of words, ‘beautiful and polluted, toxic and sublime.’”—Angélique Lalonde, author of Glorious Frazzled Beings
“Visceral, intelligent, and original, David Huebert’s Chemical Valley displays a deep empathy and understanding of human relationships and a profound concern for our world. I was struck by how Huebert can take the grittiest of subject matter and turn it beautiful with his lyrical, alchemical prose. The stories in this collection are saturated with imagery and full of exquisite, textured language: this is the kind of writing that deserves to be read closely.”—Shashi Bhat, author of The Most Precious Substance on Earth