Our staff is still aglow from our big Selected Shorts night, where we celebrated 10 years of publishing One Story, and our audience got a special advance issue of “The World to Come” by Jim Shepard. Now, dear readers, your copies should be arriving in the mail, and we’ll all get to enjoy “The World to Come” together. Set in the isolated farming community of Schoharie, New York in the 1850s, “The World to Come” is a unique love story told in the form of journal entries over six months, starting with a terrible winter storm and ending on a warm spring day in June. The closely observed details bring the hardships of this farming life into sharp focus, from the herbs used to fight fevers (valerian, lady’s slipper), to the food they eat (snowpudding, corncakes), to the the tools they use (Cahoon sower, smoothing harrow), and the problems they face (brutal work, frozen chickens). But it is the emotional layering of Shepard’s characters that draws and holds the reader, as our narrator finds her way out from under one loss, only to bear the weight of another. Be sure to check out Jim Shepard’s Q&A with us on how he wrote “The World to Come,” and how he was encouraged to “look for the weirdness” in his own work. It is exactly this “weirdness” that has made Jim such a unique and important voice in the world of fiction, able to inhabit characters living in any era, from ancient Minoans to the pioneer women in this story. He is an expert at finding the inherent truths that flow through space and time–how we struggle to find moments of joy in a world full of trouble, even when the snow falls down and buries our chickens.