"Swallowing the Past "is a prose collection about ordinary lives in the ever-changing, postmodern South. A teenage killer ends up a smiling adult bridesmaid. A conservative Christian couple tells the story of a hate crime. A parable about a stolen bike illuminates how lying can be a survival technique. Meeting an old friend at an ATM turns into a meditation on how some people should die. The book closes with "Grace Street," a dream-like, genre-defying novella about the author's encounters with the locals on a poor city block in Richmond, Virginia, which becomes an eye-opening look at the old wounds of class, race, religious intolerance, and our particularly American brand of alienation.